A New Church in Madagascar Dedicated to Pope John XXIII
Project Code: 134-01-19
Father Pierino Limonta is delighted: A new church is to be built in his parish! But what makes his joy even greater is the fact that Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana of Toamasina has decided that it will be dedicated to Pope John XXIII. In this way it will commemorate both the 50th anniversary of the death of the Pope, who will be canonized on April 27 this year, and also the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. "It will be a church of the Council,” the archbishop explained. "We are all delighted, and the school we will be building will also be named after Pope John XXIII,” said Father Pierino.
An Italian by birth himself, he has been a missionary in Madagascar for 36 years now. Most of this time he has spent in the jungle, where he shared with the people their joys, their prayers, their hopes, but also their sufferings, their sorrows and their sicknesses.
Now he is facing a new challenge, since he has been appointed parish priest of the Sacred Heart Parish in Toamasina. He has exchanged life in the rainforest for life in the jungle of a rapidly developing port city on the east coast of this island nation in the Indian Ocean.
In one of the sprawling suburbs of the city of Toamasina, a new Catholic community has developed. This particular suburb is known as Andranomadio and it forms part of the Sacred Heart Parish. The people here live in great poverty, and the region is regularly struck by powerful tropical cyclones; in 1986, it was almost completely destroyed.
The people have a deep religious sense. At present they have to make a long journey on foot if they want to attend Holy Mass in the central parish church, but it is far too small for the many Catholic faithful. It is here that the new church is to be built, and work already began on the construction of the new church on October 11, 2013, the memorial of Pope John XXIII.
At the same time they are also building a school, so that the children here will have some prospects for the future. Already there is a community of religious Sisters here who are caring for the kindergarten children and the children in the first three infant years. But everything is still on a makeshift basis for now, and it is very important to build a strong and solid structure.
Pope John XXIII once wrote, "We are not here on earth to be custodians of a museum, but to tend a garden that is bursting with flourishing life and destined for a beautiful future." That is exactly what the Catholic Church in Madagascar is striving to do. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of Father Pierino and the Sisters, both the children and the adults in Andranomadio will now be able to look forward to a better future.
Father Pierino Limonta is asking ACN for $9,900 towards the cost of building the new church. Will you give to build this new church in Madagascar?
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