Project of the Week: Urgent Need in Mozambique

Bela Vista neglected parish presbytery is in urgent need of repairs

Today, almost 30 years after the country was devastated by a savage civil war, lasting from 1977 to 1992, large areas of Mozambique have still not recovered from the bloody conflict. Not only did the country suffer widespread material devastation, but also profound spiritual and psychological scars that remain a reality in much of this southeastern African country.

In the year 2000, at the request of the Archbishop of Maputo, a community of Indian missionaries of Saint Francis of Sales arrived to work in some of the most severely affected, remote and underdeveloped regions and rebuild the shattered Church infrastructure – more importantly to minister to the traumatized human souls.

The missionaries, who now run eight separate mission stations, had to start from scratch. For almost 30 years prior to their arrival there was no Church mission nor was there evangelization. The ruling Marxist regime was hostile to the Church, as a consequence, faith and morals were “at rock bottom,” as the Fathers tell us.

The Indian priests began to rebuild the churches and chapels, but mainly devoted themselves to the care of souls, visiting people in their homes, proclaiming the Gospel, listening to people, comforting and consoling them and providing straightforward practical help at the same time. “During the long years of the civil war they had, quite literally, been sheep without a shepherd. Now they are gradually returning to more fertile pastures and accepting Christ as their Lord and Redeemer,” writes Father Ranjit Tirkey.

Across Jungles and Streams to help the Poor

One of the mission stations in their care is the parish of Bela Vista in the province of Matutuine in the south of the country. The parish has a population of 45,000 and sixteen outstations where Holy Mass is celebrated. Part of the parish is located in the jungle, making it very difficult to get to some of the villages when the roads became impassable in the rainy season on account of the mud and the small rivers and streams. But at long last, now there is a paved road.

The three Indian priests still have to carry out their work in the most difficult of conditions. There is deep poverty, widespread disease, and altogether, this is a remote and undeveloped region where the priests have to play the roles of helpers and councillors to the people.  This applies not only to their spiritual needs, but also, very often, when it comes to their many material needs. In short, the priests have to be all things to all people, despite their own deep poverty.

Their precarious situation includes their own living accommodation, in particular. The presbytery is in a dilapidated and neglected condition and has not been repaired or maintained for some twenty years. The roof leaks, the water pipes are rusted, the water tank leaks and the sanitary facilities are badly damaged.

To enable them to carry out at the very least, the most urgent and necessary repairs, we are proposing to help with a grant of $6,300.

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