Project of the Week – India

30,000 Bibles in the Khasi language

The far northeast of India is linked to the rest of the country only by a narrow corridor of land. As a result, the region is isolated and remains among the poorest and most underdeveloped regions of India. The vast majority of the population live scattered in small rural communities and belong to the disadvantaged ethnic minorities, or Tribal Peoples.

There are 15 Catholic dioceses in this region today. Historically, the Church was not allowed to operate here until around 125 years ago, and in many regions, has only been present for a few decades. Nevertheless, it has shown that it has the ability to unite the many different ethnicities, traditions, and cultures represented here. The Church belongs to no single ethnic group, but to all.

Many of the Catholic faithful here belong to the Khasi ethnic group and live in the remote hill country, crossed by vast valleys and dense forests. Originally an animist tribe, they believed in spirits and practised ancestor worship. But since the arrival of the Catholic missionaries, many have been converted by the Good News of the Gospel and have become enthusiastic believers in Jesus Christ. They are eager to learn more about the Word of God and live out their faith more deeply.

Already some years ago, thanks to your support, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) was able to print and distribute Bibles in the Kasi language to many of the parishes. But the demand continues to be enormous and at this point, the original printing has been completely exhausted. There is keen interest in the Bible apostolate, and many of those families who already possess a Bible love to study and pray with it together. Frequently, several families will gather in groups to study the Scriptures. Additionally, the local Church organises Bible seminars at diocesan and parish levels. Catechetical instruction is likewise focused on the written Word of God.

But there are still many who long to own a Bible. And the Church here in this remote and underdeveloped region is poor, like its people, and has additionally been hard-hit financially by the pandemic. So they have turned to us for help with the cost of printing and distributing 30,000 copies of the Bible in this local language – at a total cost of $88,155. Some of these Bibles will also be distributed among people of the same Khasi ethnic group, living across the border in Bangladesh.

Archbishop Victor Lyngdoh of the Archdiocese of Shillong, who has also asked our help on behalf of the other dioceses in the same region, has written: “At all events, your support will be an immense help to us in our efforts to make the use of the Bible still more popular among the Khasi-speaking people here. May God bless you all!”

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