A Presbytery for a New Parish in India
Project Code: 317-01-19
The Parish of Chimpu is still in its infancy. Established in July of 2013, it presently has some 800 parishioners from six different villages. But there are many other villages in the jungle here where the people are also interested in the Catholic faith. The inhabitants of this region belong overwhelmingly to a range of ethnic minorities who still practise animist natural religions and have great fear of evil spirits. Bishop John Thomas Kattrukudiyil believes that there are "great chances for evangelization" in his diocese.
Even in the remotest corners of the jungle, there are small settlements. For many of the inhabitants, seeking medical help or visiting a government office can mean a walk of as much as five or six days. The few roads that do exist in the region are often rendered impassable in the rainy season by landslides. And in the remote villages, there is no electricity. The people live in houses made of grass and bamboo which have to be rebuilt every year. Often several families live together in one large hut.
The winters can be long and hard, but not many people have warm clothing. Usually, heating is provided by a stove inside the house, which provides warmth but also smoke, which is harmful to health. Often the animals are housed in the same hut, and if the house is built on stilts, then the pigs usually live directly beneath the living area. Drinking water is collected straight from the rivers.
Infant and maternal mortality are high, and many people suffer from malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, while there are also frequent cases of snakebite or bites from poisonous insects. The local homebrewed alcohol is widespread, and, as a result so, too, is alcoholism.
Polygamy is still practised among many of the traditional tribal peoples. Many men take several wives for reasons of prestige, in order to show that they are wealthy enough to do so. And it is not unusual even for children to be sold in marriage to the highest bidder. Often very young girls are married in this way, as a sixth or seventh wife.
The Catholic Church, for its part, is bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of the area and helping them in their needs. Education, medical care, hygiene and a bettering of the situation of women: all these things are being brought only by the Church in this remote region.
But the priests who care for these people also need a house to live in themselves. That is why ACN has promised $8,800 for the construction of a presbytery / parish house. Will you give to build a presbytery for this new parish in Indiaso that the priests can better minister to the local people?
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