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Project of the Week: Mass Intentions for Nicaragua

Mass Offerings for the sustenance of five contemplative Albertine priests

The monks of Saint Albert are a young, home-grown contemplative order of priests and religious in Nicaragua. Until recently there were no male contemplative religious orders in this Central American country. And the five men who have embraced this religious life in Estelí, in the north of the country, are themselves quite young, aged between 30 and 40. They are so to speak “pioneers” of the monastic life in their home country as well as a living testimony to the youth and vitality of the Church in Nicaragua.

Next to Haiti, Nicaragua is the poorest country in all Latin America. The Catholic Church herself faces numerous problems here. Quite apart from the political unrest of 2018, which also brought great suffering to the Church, there are many pastoral challenges to face. The sectarian groups are numerous and very active, and today the proportion of Catholics is barely half the total of the country’s 6.1 million population. Moreover, an economic crisis has hit the Church, and in particular the contemplative religious communities, very hard.

The Pandemic’s Effects on the Brothers

And then the coronavirus pandemic struck, making things still harder for the Brothers. For one thing, they can no longer accept guests in the monastery, while at the same time the little they did receive in the way of gifts from the people has now all but completely dried up. Further, all five men themselves caught the virus, one of them so severely that he required intensive care—the cost of his hospital care was then an additional burden for this young Nicaraguan community.

Yet despite this, the Brothers have experienced the pandemic as a time of spiritual deepening. Father Francisco, for example, writes to us to say, “During this time I experienced a growth in my faith life.”

ACN has regularly supported these young monks with Mass Offerings , and we have helped them again recently with $7,830. The Fathers always celebrate these Holy Masses for the intentions of the benefactors who have entrusted them. In this way, in addition to the concrete, material help given, a profound spiritual bond is formed between the benefactors and the priests who are praying for them.

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