The following series of texts has the objective of introducing you to the many kinds of aid needed by various organizations, parishes or Catholic communities throughout the world. We invite you to travel with us to every continent, that you may see how very important your support is.
Enjoy the read !
By ACN International
Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
After Haiti, Bolivia is the poorest country in Latin America. Two thirds of its close to 11 million inhabitants – the great majority of whom belong to the indigenous population – live in poverty and 40% of them in what is classed as extreme poverty. Roughly 83% of the population is Catholic.
In the diocese of Cochabamba there are more than one and a half million Catholics. They are ministered to by just 130 diocesan and religious priests – a ratio of almost 12,000 Catholic faithful for each priest. The average size of each parish is approximately 442 km² – almost double the size of a city like Vancouver, Canada.
In the south of the diocese of Cochabamba, in the region of Alto Pagador, four nuns belonging to the congregation of the Hermanas Marianitas (Marian Sisters) are engaged in offering pastoral care. In a region where there is a great deal of poverty and high unemployment, medical provisions are scarce and basic – nor is there running water or proper drainage. Many women attempt to make a living through illegal trade, while the men who do have work, toil on building sites or work as taxi drivers. Yet the cost of living is climbing constantly, and even when both husband and wife have work, their income is often still not enough to feed their families. Many families break up as a result of the strain.
Father Marco Verberckt writes: “For over 10 years the sisters have been devoted, heart, life and soul, to the work of pastoral care in this parish, above all in the Mary of Nazareth Centre, where they are the ones mainly responsible for the pastoral work. They care above all for needy children and women and provide a midday meals service for schoolchildren. They are engaged in catechetical work with the children and young people and in guiding and encouraging the various youth groups and the childhood and youth missionary groups.”
Two of the sisters also teach in a local school, but the salary they receive is not enough to cover their basic needs. ACN is helping with a contribution of $1,570 to help cover the most basic costs of their life and ministry that they can continue in their vocation to give their lives for others.
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