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Democratic Republic of Congo – Construction of a chapel in Murhala

21.06.2013 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, RDC CONGO, Uncategorized

By ACN International,

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin

Murhala is a small and dynamically growing town, just 100 yards from the National Highway linking Bukavu, the capital of the South Kivu region, with Goma. Of the current population of 13,000 people, some 9000 are Catholics.

Every morning at six o’clock a large group of the faithful gather to pray the rosary and attend Holy Mass. They also pray to Saint Nicholas of Flüe, for whom they have a great devotion, and ask him for peace for their region, torn for so many years by war and violence.

The Catholics of Murhala haven’t a church where they can all gather together, but instead meet in an old wooden house that is slowly crumbling and in a state of decay – but they would like to build a church of their own, dedicated to this particular saint.

To make their dream into a reality, they have now joined forces and on their own backs they have carried the sand, bricks and stones with which they hope to be able to build their church. But they themselves are very poor and survive only by what they can grow on their little plots of land or by working as small traders. Even so, they can barely manage to feed their families. Without outside help they will be unable to finish their church. “That is why they are knocking at the door of their brothers and sisters in ACN,” writes their parish priest, Father Jean de Dieu Karhabalala Mufungizi. “So that they can finish building this church. We have to restore peace. Peace is something we achieve by doing something good and tangible. Uniting people together before God is the best way for the Christians in Murhala to unite them in peace and harmony. We build up the country by building places where people can gather together; we bring peace to a nation by showing it the peaceful face of God. This is what we are doing in Murhala.”

ACN has agreed to help with a contribution of $66 700, to build this chapel which is to become a place of peace.

This project is just one example of our work. Should you wish to support it, or another similar project that accords with the pastoral priorities of ACN, please contact us to make your donation. Thank you!

Democratic Republic of Congo – Help for the formation of 89 seminarians

20.06.2013 in ACN Canada, ACN International

By ACN International

Since 1996 the bloody fighting, especially in the Kivu province in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has claimed over 5 million lives. Unimaginably brutal massacres, mass rape, arson, abductions and wholesale lootings continue to this day. This conflict, it is claimed, has cost more human lives than any other since the Second World War. One of the driving forces behind this ongoing tragedy is the unbridled greed for mineral resources, for this is a region rich in copper, uranium, cobalt, zinc, tungsten, tin, gold and diamonds. But above all, some 80% of the world’s entire resources of coltan are found here. On account of its high heat resistance and conductivity, this metal is now an essential element in the production of modern computers, mobile phones, space satellites and the like. Hence the control over these resources means immense wealth and power, and human lives count for little or nothing in such a conflict.

In the midst of all this, Catholic priests and religious are sharing the sufferings of the people, persevering along this blood stained Way of the Cross and helping in whatever way they can. Many have already given their lives. Yet despite this – or perhaps precisely because of this courageous witness – many young men are still prepared to follow the call of God. Thus, for example, in the theology seminary of Saint Pius in Murhesa, there are 89 candidates studying, in the hope of one day being ordained as priests and working as good shepherds to their people.

In addition to a sound academic formation, the seminary attaches the greatest importance to the spiritual formation of these future priests, and great emphasis is placed on prayer, personal contemplation, Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.

But of course without financial support the seminary could not take in, or provide this formation to, the many young men who feel called to the priesthood. Hence it is no surprise that ACN has been regularly helping towards the formation of these seminarians. The rector of the seminary, Fr Crispin Bunyakiri Mukengere, writes: “Your help enables us each time to complete the academic year normally. Without this support we would be totally blocked, or would simply be forced to cut short the academic year.”

This year ACN is once again helping for the seminary with a contribution of 25,800 Euros, so that these 89 young men can indeed complete their path to the priesthood.

This project is just one example of our work. Should you wish to support it, or another similar project that accords with the pastoral priorities of ACN, then please contact us to make your donation. Thank you!

India – “It is not the ‘I’ that matters, but the ‘We’.”

18.06.2013 in ACN Canada, ACN International, FORMATION, India, SEMINARIANS

Reinhard Backes, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

 Father Thomas Manjaly is from Kerala, found in southwest India. However, this Catholic priest lives and works in the northeast of the country in the Archdiocese of Shillong, about 4,000 km from his home. Following his ordination in 1971, he worked in a parish – in 1984 he began a course of studies relating to the New Testament at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, obtaining his doctorate in 1991.

From 2009 onwards to present day, Father Thomas has been a member of the Pontifical Bible Committee, which meets regularly in Rome. He teaches seminarians and has for many years now been in charge of the formation programs of several Indian dioceses, as he explained during a visit to the headquarters of the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“Education is a vital key for the building up of the Church,” Father Thomas explains. “That is true for priests, religious and the ordinary faithful, and not only in India,” he adds. “A priest should certainly understand something of organization and administration, but before anything else he is a priest. That is something that even the Hindus also expect of him. For them a priest is a spiritual person.” Father Manjaly continues: “A priest must be able to communicate with people and also possess a solid theological understanding. It is not the ‘I’ that matters, but the ‘we’.”, he tells us.

The formation of lay catechists

At the present time there are 40 young men in the Archdiocese of Shillong preparing for the priesthood, a number that has been consistent for years, according to Father Thomas. However, they are still too few for the growing pastoral work in the area, and so the archdiocese is also promoting the formation of lay catechists. “Those Catholics who take on a particular responsibility are given a thorough theological formation,” Father Thomas explains, adding, “They are then involved in spreading the faith and giving religious instruction on Sundays, for example, since the subject is not taught in the schools.”

The average parish in central, northern and northeast India generally comprises anything up to 60 village communities, Father Manjaly explains. For one priest to minister to them all, is difficult, and consequently many village communities – which can include anywhere from 10 to 200 families – are led by lay people; usually by men but occasionally by women.

The training of these lay catechists is a demanding one and generally lasts a year, in some cases even two years. “After this, the catechists help the parents to prepare for the baptism of their children and young couples to prepare for marriage. They also help in preparing adults and children for their First Holy Communion and Confirmation and in leading Liturgies of the Word.”

ACN is supporting all these educational initiatives aimed at advancing the pastoral outreach. They are a vital part of the pastoral work of the Archdiocese of Shillong, and last year alone we contributed $68,000 for this purpose.

Moldova – A car for the parish of Divine Providence in Chisinau

16.05.2013 in ACN Canada, ACN International, MOTORIZATION, Pastoral care, Pastoral work

By ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

The Republic of Moldova has just one Catholic diocese situated in its capital, Chisinau. Catholics make up only a tiny minority of a little over 0.4 % and widely scattered within the total population.

In the capital Chisinau itself, a city populated by 700,000 souls, there are only two Catholic parishes. The parish of Divine Providence is under the care of Father Mihai Balan. Every month he three other priests with whom he shares his car travel around 700 miles (over 1100 km) in service of their pastoral ministry.

MOLDAVIE -1The now battered old Skoda Fabia, which the parish has been using for eight years, already had a full 10 years of use under its belt. In fact, given the terrible road conditions in the country, it is a miracle it has even lasted this long! The time came when it needed to be repaired frequently and it began consuming a great deal of money to maintain. As the car  was becoming less than economic to repair, and a danger to drive, Father Balan turned to ACN asking for help to buy a new car that would be less problematic, for he and the other three priests need a vehicle to travel through the town of Chisinau, and to reach the other three smaller towns in which new blossoming parishes have been established, but without priests of their own.

The good fathers wish to visit the sick and bring them Holy Communion, bless people’s homes and organize children’s activities and youth groups. Readily available transportation is indispensable for the social work they are doing in their parishes.

Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, ACN was able to provide $8,000 for the purchase of a new car and ensured the life of this parish community by providing an adequate and safe means of transportation.

Tomorrow: Belarus – Aid to the Church in Need hopes to help with the construction of a convent complete with a pastoral center.  The cost will be $34,000 given that the local resources are already insufficient to support the parishes many activities, or the life of the monastic brothers it houses.

Press Release : Central Africa – A matter of survival

15.05.2013 in ACN Canada, ACN International, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Persecution of Christians

ACN International

Adapted by Robert Lalonde, ACN Canada

 Montreal, Wednesday May 15th, 2013Almost completely unnoticed by world public opinion a new drama of Christian persecution is unfurling in the Central African Republic.

The Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has learnt from Church circles in Central Africa that the mission stations and churches are being looted, destroyed and even pillaged by militias close to the new government. Any resistance is mercilessly suppressed. A number of Christians have been killed or wounded.

All nine dioceses are affected, seven of them particularly severely. The dioceses of Alindao and Bangassou have, it is said, “lost everything”. They were no longer even able to help those in need. The Bishops are at special risk, but they refuse to abandon their flock. Many Christians have fled into the countryside and do not dare to return to their houses for fear of encountering rebels. The militias belong to the Muslim movement Seleka, they come from the north and are well armed.

Centrafrique-3ACN had already arranged to supply emergency aid to the diocese of Kanga Bandoro in January via secure routes and channels. In view of the extreme emergency the aid is now being topped up. A further four dioceses are receiving immediate emergency relief totalling 210 600$.

It is impossible to consider rebuilding the churches and houses or even of purchasing new vehicles to replace those stolen by the rebels. It’s simply a matter of survival now.”

Anyone wishing to contribute to this assistance is requested to do so by contacting the person named below.

Robert Lalonde (514)932-0552 ext 224

or

Amanda Griffin (514)932-0552 ext 221

 

Ukraine “Today we are seen as an Indigenous Church”

14.05.2013 in Uncategorized

In the days to come, we will present you with a series of 3 articles about the Church in Eastern Europe:  Ukraine, Moldavia and Belarus.

___________________________________________

Reinhard Backes, ACN International

Adapted by ACN CanadaUkraine-1

In Ukraine the Catholic Church enjoys a very positive reception. This is true for both the members of the Roman Catholic and of the Greek Catholic Churches. While the latter is present mainly in western and central Ukraine, Catholics of the Latin rite are living throughout the country, as the Archbishop of Lviv, Mieczysław Mokrzycki, stressed during a visit to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Formerly, the Catholic Church in Ukraine was often referred to as the Polish Church, but today we are being seen more and more as an indigenous church. The Catholic Church in Ukraine has a new identity,” Archbishop Mokrzycki explained. He claimed that a clear majority of Roman Catholic Christians speak Ukrainian. Among the faithful other languages such as Hungarian, Slovakian, Romanian and Russian are also common, about ten per cent speak Polish. Because of a lack of local priests, pastoral workers who are originally from Poland often work in the Archdiocese of Lviv. Currently, there are about 60 out of 180 priests who are Polish.

Until the year 1945, the Bishops of the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic Churches formed a Bishops’ Conference. In the subsequent period of the Soviet Union, to which Lviv belonged after the Second World War, Christians suffered reprisals. In this period of oppression, persecution and dispersion – the cohesion of the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic Churches dissipated due to cultural differences, nationalities, denominations and religions in Ukraine. The same divides were felt in Lviv. War, the German occupation, the destruction of the Jewish population and the soviet era left deep wounds in the country. All the way to present day Lviv, the past places a strain on the relations between the Christian denominations.

With the break-up of the Soviet Union and the revival of church life, the Roman Catholic and Greek-Catholic Bishops initially went their different ways; the relationship was not always untroubled. In particular many buildings confiscated in the communist era were not returned to the Roman Catholic Church. At the instigation of Archbishop Mokrzycki the Bishops of the Churches, which are in full communion with the Holy See, now meet annually, for the past five years in a joint conference and for the past three years also for the purpose of joint religious exercises; to date there has not been a joint Catholic Bishops’ Conference, however.

Archbishop Mokrzycki comes from the Polish town of Majdan Lukawiecki, located on the Ukrainian border. The distance to Lviv is barely 75 kilometres. Until 1991, the Polish section belonged to the Archdiocese of Lviv. Only since Ukraine’s independence have the boundaries of the diocese been limited to Ukrainian territory.

Archbishop Mokrzycki studied theology in Lublin. In 1987 he was ordained as a priest. In 1996 he obtained his doctorate in Rome and then until 2005 he was secretary to John Paul II and Benedict XVI. For just under five years Mieczysław Mokrzycki, now 52, has led the Diocese of Lviv in the west of Ukraine. He sees it as his task to strengthen pastoral work: “Ukraine is a young country, a new reality. And the Catholic Church in Ukraine is a living church. We are primarily missionaries here; we see that in our catecheses, which are received with great interest because people are opening themselves up to the Faith.”

Aid to the Church in Need has supported the pastoral work of the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic Churches in Ukraine for years. In 2012, 277 projects were funded, with the help of ACN benefactors.

 ______________________________________________

Tomorrow:  Moldavia, where ACN helps to buy a new car for a sum of $8,000 to help continue parish life.

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Uganda: New studio inaugurated on “World Communications Day”

14.05.2013 in ACN International, Child soldiers, MEDIA, Media apostolate, Uncategorized

“Radio Wa contributes greatly to peace and reconciliation”

 The radio station which set ablaze by LRA rebels in 2002 during the civil war and had since been housed in temporary accommodation has finally been reconstructed. On the occasion of the 47th World Communications Day, May 12th, the north Ugandan diocese of Lira, the new building of the Catholic radio station “Radio Wa” was inaugurated.

Bishop Giuseppe Franzelli told the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the diocese of Lira had been hit hard by the civil war and the station was able to encourage over 1500 child soldiers to flee and return home during and immediately following war. The radio station has and continues to contribute greatly the cause of peace and reconciliation in the diocese.

OUGANDA -1“We’re now in a phase of reconstruction and healing,” says Bishop Franzelli. The expansion of the radio station has made it possible to more effectively “reach the people and help them with information and advice.” The broadcasts have reached not only Catholics, but the whole population. “The station wants to proclaim the glad tidings. In this, transmission of the faith is just as much part of the agenda as practical counselling. The help we have received to developing Radio Wa encourages us to carry on.”

ACN’s financial support $19,700 followed earlier material support of technical equipment. The funding provided for the expansion has enabled the building of two new studios, and a cabin for live transmissions and offices.

By ACN International – Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

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World Communications Day

13.05.2013 in ACN Canada, ACN International, MEDIA, Pastoral work, Religious education

An interview with Mark von Riedemann, Communication Director of Aid to the Church in Need.

By Reinhard Backes, ACN International

MARK RIEDEMAN1.  How important is media work for an international CatholiWorlc pastoral charity like Aid to the Church in Need, which finances over 5,000 projects per year?

Fr. Werenfried, the founder of Aid to the Church in Need, was a master of communication. His gift, upon his return from travels, was to tell the story of the suffering Church in churches and parish halls in such a way as to light a fire of compassion and indignation in the hearts of those hearing his words, spurring prayer and action. Today the charity still relies on preaching, but often the new pulpit has changed, growing beyond the church and parish hall and encompassing the electronic media – a new way of spreading the Gospel message and the story of those, the ‘elite of the Church’ (Fr. Werenfried) who suffer for their Faith and inspire us to a greater reflection of our own baptismal call.

2.  What are the aims of your department?

One is, via our Services department, to support our National offices which are directly responsible for raising the funds to help the suffering church. We provide them with information on projects and work with them to provide accurate and timely information.

The second is our press, photo and audiovisual departments which through articles, images, TV and Radio, seek to inform the public and our benefactors on topics from all around the world, concerning the pastoral needs of the suffering Church.

3.  How would you define the term media apostolate? What is the mission that is associated with it?

Pope John Paul II made this clear in his 1990 World Communications Day message: “It was for God’s faithful people to make creative use of the new discoveries and technologies for the benefit of humanity and the fulfillment of God’s plan for the world….employing the full potential of the ‘computer age’ to serve the human and transcendent vocation of every person, and thus to give glory to the Father from whom all good things come”.

The media silence concerning the persecution of Christians is a fact. ACN has been given a mission to tell the world, via the media, about the suffering Church. Archbishop Georges Casmoussa of Mosul, Iraq, in his foreword to the ACN publication “Persecuted and Forgotten” wrote: “The persecution of Christians in our world today amounts to a human rights disaster. It is a catastrophe that has been ignored by the media, almost as if a news black-out has been enforced.” If we fail in this mission, and the media remains silent on this subject, then the “reality” for many will be that Christians are not suffering and those involved in communications will have failed.

4.  Why does ACN invest nearly 9 percent of its budget in the media apostolate? Was that always the case? Or is it a new project?

 To answer this question, I will draw on three sources: the Decree on the Media of Social Communications “Inter Mirifica” published in December 1963 by Pope Paul VI and the Spiritual guidelines of the founder of Aid to the Church in Need, Fr. Werenfried and finally the 2013 address to journalists by Pope Francis .

In the introduction of ‘Inter Mirifica’ we read: “The Church recognises that these media, if properly utilized  can be of great service to mankind” and, in Chapter 1, it continues: “It is, therefore, an inherent right of the Church to have at its disposal and to employ any of these media insofar as they are necessary or useful for the instruction of Christians.

Fr. Werenfried stated in Guideline 28: “From this pastoral character emerge the aims that we wish to pursue and the projects to which our organisation must give precedence. Chief among these are the training of priests, religious, catechists and lay pastoral workers, the provision of bibles, liturgical and theological books and catechetical materials, the promotion of post-graduate theological studies, the establishment of contemplative convents, the material support of needy priests, religious and others in the service of the Church, the construction and repair of churches, chapels, seminaries, convents and other Church properties, the provision of transport for pastoral workers and the apostolate of the media.”

From this we understand that from the earliest periods in the Church and the charity, the media is a service to mankind and as such bears a great responsibility to communicate the truth. Fr. Werenfried understood the importance of the media and the media apostolate as a worthy project in its own right – equal in importance to the training of priests and the construction of churches. In this sense, the provision of information is also a “project”.

Finally, again today we are called to a renewed understanding of this media apostolate through Pope Francis’s Saturday March 16, 2013 address to journalists in which he stated:

“…At your disposal you have the means to hear and to give voice to people’s expectations and demands, and to provide for an analysis and interpretation of current events. Your work calls for careful preparation, sensitivity and experience, like so many other professions, but it also demands a particular concern for what is true, good and beautiful. This is something which we have in common, since the Church exists to communicate precisely this: Truth, Goodness and Beauty “in person”. It should be apparent that all of us are called not to communicate ourselves, but this existential triad made up of truth, beauty and goodness.”

This call, to spread this truth, beauty and goodness – the gospel – is at the root of our lives as Christians and at the root of Aid to the Church in Need. With the spread of new media and the ever greater impact on our lives, ACN bears anew its responsibility to communicate the Gospel values. 

This interview will be followed tomorrow by an article about the inauguration of a new building to house the Catholic “Radio Wa,” in Uganda.

Nigeria Promoting reconciliation and peace

08.05.2013 in ACN International, Bible apostolate, Nigeria, Pastoral work

ACN International

Adapted by Robert Lalonde, ACN Canada

 Nigeria is going through a time of trial and horror – and not only since the attacks by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. For years now a succession of conflicts has torn at this vast West African nation. Everywhere, among ordinary people, there is a longing for peace, and the Catholic Church for her part is doing everything in her power to promote this peace and reconciliation.

During the second Africa Synod, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the immense importance of strengthening peace, justice and development in Nigeria. And Father Michael Oyedare, who has responsibility for the Bible apostolate in his diocese, can also see this necessity. For this reason, together with Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of the diocese of Oyo, he is organizing training workshops for the lay pastoral workers who do so much to ease the burden on the 39 priests of the diocese.

Within the diocese of Oyo there are 45,000 Catholics, among a population of 2 million Muslims. Most of the Catholic faithful earn their living as peasant farmers or harvest workers on the citrus, maize, yam, cassava and cocoa plantations of the region. Their earnings come to around $10 per day – barely enough to survive on. Many of the faithful “really do their best,” insists Father Michael. However, it is important, he believes, to strengthen the community leaders in their faith and train them to engage in interreligious dialogue, so that they can be “good ambassadors for the Church.” The idea of the workshops is to equip the participants to do just this. 

But since the diocese itself has very few resources, Father Michael and Bishop Emmanuel have turned to ACN for financial support. We have promised a contribution of $7 500 for the practical implementation of these workshops. 

This project is just one example of our work. Should you wish to support it, or another similar project that accords with the pastoral priorities of ACN, then please indicate the reference code below when making your donation. Thank you.

 

 

Sowing the Word in Brazil’s rough interior

17.04.2013 in ACN Brazil, ACN Canada, Brazil

by Rodrigo Arantes, ACN Brazil

Luiz Gonzaga, a Brazilian musical icon, was born in a rough, rural area in the state of Pernambuco in north-eastern Brazil. He became famous in Rio de Janeiro. After 16 years, during which he never visited his parents, he returned one night to the north-east. He himself describes how he stood in front of their house and cried out:

– Hallo! Is there anybody home?

No answer.

Because nobody answered he shouted even louder. Then he remembered the “farmers’ password” and cried:

 – Praised be Jesus Christ!

 Immediately a light went on in the house. He heard his father’s voice answering:

– For ever and ever. Amen!

And that’s how father and son met again after more than a decade.

This incident illustrates the faith of the farmers of north-eastern Brazil. No-one, not even a thief, would have the courage to abuse the name of God. Of course his father couldn’t know that it was his son calling out, but he could be sure that the one using this “farmers’ password” was a good person.

The rough land in the Brazil’s north-eastern region is one of the country’s weakest regions. Although the soil itself is fertile, it suffers from an extremely dry climate and sparse rainfall. According to current data more than 10 million people suffer from the drought. In the areas most affected hunger, thirst and all kinds of deprivations are the order of the day. But in this region the people’s faith is constant. It is against this backdrop that “Aid to the Church in Need” operates.

Since the 1960s the rough areas in the north-east of Brazil have received support for large-scale projects, such as radio stations in rural areas preaching the Gospel to the people, live as they do hundreds of miles from the next chapel. But “Aid to the Church in Need” also implements a number of smaller projects in particular which directly benefit the modest smallholders from this area in Brazil’s interior.

Don Neco has great respect for the Mother of God and in particular for Saint Francis. He lives in Serra Talhada, in the interior of the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. The community is called “Nuestra Señora de la Salud” (“Our Lady of Health”), but the only sign of this Christian community was the image of the Holy Virgin which Don Neco possessed.

Members of this community would walk kilometres to get to Don Neco’s land. They gathered there to pray under the blazing sun to pray in the shadow of a tree. They celebrated a liturgy of the Word before the image of the Holy Virgin. When the priest joined them he celebrated Holy Mass. The community decided it was time to build a chapel. Don Neco donated a piece of land to enable the church to be constructed. For this man of faith it was more important to sow the Word of God than to sow food. The members took a number of initiatives to raise funds to build the chapel, for instance by holding bingo sessions – everyone donated something as a bingo prize: cooking pots, chickens and even goats could be won. The desire to build the chapel was so great that a single goat served as a prize seven times: each person who won it put forward as a prize for the next game.

Even so the money collected wasn’t enough to build the chapel. The priest Orlando Bezerra, who had accompanied the initiative, asked “Aid to the Church in Need” for support, but only to buy building materials. The labour was being provided by the members of the community themselves.

And today the chapel is finished. Don Neco can see that the faith sown on his land has borne fruit. “I thank God for all this. In the whole region there is not a single child that hasn’t been baptised and received First Communion.”

The community “Rosa de los Vientos” (“Rose of the Winds”) is one of the 46 places looked after by only two priests from the area of Serra do Ramalho, in the interior of the State of Bahia. This area also suffers from a prevailing drought. Whenever anybody came and asked the inhabitants for something to eat or drink, he would be given a piece of “palm”, a type of cactus typical of the north-east of Brazil and which is also used to feed cattle. “Here people only get something to eat every two days,” says farmer Pedro de Andrade. Even the water used in the houses comes from the water the cattle bathe in and where they leave their excrement. The community has neither running water nor electricity.

In view of such deprivations the only thing there was a surplus of was faith. A benefactor of “Aid to the Church in Need” wanted to provide the funds to build a chapel. Even now the community only wanted money to buy building materials. They intended to carry out the construction work themselves. Now the chapel to “Saint Eulalia” has been built the community is more united. They now also have electricity and running water. The word from the scriptures came true: “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

These are only two of the hundreds of projects which “Aid to the Church in Need” supports in this rough region of Brazil. “Aid to the Church in Need” has also supported nuns in helping to preserve and enrich the people’s faith, because the region is also one of the areas targeted by the sects. But farmers like Don Neco are excellent examples of how a firmly rooted faith cannot be overturned by the wind. “I receive everyone in my home. But one day I heard that people with an alien religion wanted to visit me. Since I knew what they were I answered: Look here, thank them on my behalf. But ask them to stay away from me. I don’t wish to receive anyone who claims that my Mother (the Mother of God) is not important for the history of our salvation,” Don Neco declared.

SEMER 2