One vocation in ten depends on you
Brazil: “You are a priest for ever… ” –for God “will not change his mind”.
Syria: “Blessed are you when men revile you… on my account.”
Cameroon: “… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Slovakia: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me…”
“… In remembrance of Me”. Through the priest, Christ remains present among us.
The number of seminarians is increasing in Africa and Asia, but it is
Falling in Europe and in the Americas. Worldwide, the pontifical yearbook
has registered a slight increase of almost1%, to a total of 118,000.
“The ability to foster vocations is a hallmark of the vitality of a local Church,” said Pope Benedict on the 48th Day of Prayer for Vocations. The same is true of ACN. The Holy Father is counting on you. One seminarian in every 10 around the world has you to thank for the fact that he can pursue his vocation. However,
their individual needs can vary greatly. The 30 seminarians of the apostolic prelature of Chuquibamba, in
Peru don’t have enough for their basic needs – including food. Their monthly running costs come to 4,648 Euros and 54 cents, and there is always a short fall. We want to give 2,300 Euros to cover the gap.
In Mozambique the 134 seminarians of the Archdiocese of Nampula need books. Many shelves in their library, their store of spiritual and intellectual sustenance, are empty. We have promised 8,500 Euros to provide them with manuals and textbooks – Basic nourishment for their minds and souls. This is particularly urgent as the diocese is located in a region culturally dominated by Islam, where solid knowledge and sound argument are the daily bread of interreligious dialogue. A similar problem faces the 85 seminarians, 16 novices and 40 aspirants of the Dominican Order in
Vietnam. Their Province is under the protection of Our Lady and bears the distinctive name “Queen of
Martyrs”. The formation for the Order of Preachers has always been very thorough –as indeed it is in Vietnam today. We have promised them 100 Euros for every brother of the order founded by the great Doctor of the Church, Thomas Aquinas.
From Sri Lanka the appeal embraces both the human and the structural dimensions. For, in the wake of the Civil War, the 83 candidates in
the Saint Francis Xavier seminary in Jaffna has little left but their own goodwill. In order to make a new start they need … well actually they need everything. With
your help we can help them meet their initial needs with a contribution of 150 Euros for each seminarian. And in
Angola too, where after 30 years of war the religious orders and the dioceses are now experiencing a blossoming of vocations, the Church can at last look towards a better future. There are many new candidates looking to us for help, so that
They can fulfill their joyful “yes” to the Lord. And much the same could be said in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, and again in
Ukraine, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia in
Eastern Europe. These young men all wish to serve “in the person of Christ, the Head”, as the Second Vatican Council puts it, by ministering the Sacraments and proclaiming the Word of God. It cannot be done without them. But their call to serve God is also a call for us to help them. Let us respond with an
Enthusiasm that stirs and inspires! •
Vocations – a sign of the vitality of the Church
Any donation you kindly give will go to support these or similar projects of a pastoral nature through Aid to the Church in Need.
B. The family that prays together stays together”. This wise counsel was again passed on to us by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter on the Holy Rosary. And where there is prayer, there are also people who walk the path of peace.
Bishop Pablo Emiro Salas Anteliz of Espinal, in
Colombia treasures these wise words. In fact he has built his family apostolate upon it. The basic idea is a simple one: in his diocese there are many children in great danger. Their schools are utterly neglected, the walls cracked, the roofs leaking; and the educational system itself is no better. Moreover the rebels continue to come and abduct the youngsters, forcing them to bear arms and using them as cannon fodder in their battles. Almost every family mourns its losses to these para-military groups. The best weapon against such dangers is the solidarity, within the family and within the community of love, faith formation and prayer. This sort of integral education, in a truly Christian sense, can lead to justice and Peace. This is exactly what Pope Benedict XVI says in his message for the World Day of Peace 2012. For the young men and women of today, he says, it is “more than ever indispensable to learn the value and the way of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, dialogue and understanding”. This requires a “sound formation of conscience”, He adds, which can enable them “to fight always and only by trusting in the power of truth and goodness”. It is an education “that begins in the family and continues in the schools”. In this way they can develop into men and women who are “genuinely peaceable and peacemakers”. This is the goal. In order to achieve it
Bishop Pablo Salas is relying on ACN, in the shape of the Child’s Bible, the Rosary book for children and the little catechism I Believe. He is particularly taken with the Rosary booklet, in fact – which is not surprising as this is a particularly Marian diocese. More than 50 of its 56 parishes are dedicated to Our Lady and the cathedral itself is consecrated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Bishop Pablo wants as many families as possible to have a Child’s Bible, a Rosary booklet and a little catechism. He believes that the catechism will also help young couples to prepare for marriage; many of them in fact will afterwards work in the parishes as catechists. Most of these catechists meet together once a month to pray for peace and unity within families. In his address to the Diplomatic Corps, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the primary importance of “the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society.” Bishop Pablo Salas has enshrined this truth in his family apostolate. He has put his trust in Our Lady and is now putting the Holy Father’s words into practical effect in his diocese. And you are helping him to do so. •
Many children are in great danger.