Build A Place for Young People in Ecuador to Grow in Faith and Maturity
Project Code: 217-07-19
Father Walter J. Coronel leads an eventful life. His Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Ahuano can only be reached by canoe, since the village lies in the heart of the rainforest and is cut off from the rest of the world by a river. There is no bridge, and while the nearest largish town of Tena is "only" 36 miles away, it still takes the people of Ahuano up to 8 hours to reach it, and sometimes even longer, depending on weather conditions. In this part of the Amazon, rainfall is constant, and sometimes rivers rise so rapidly that it is impossible to cross them. Ahuano has a population of 12,234 people, the majority of whom live in simple huts.
"Approximately 65% of them belong to the indigenous Indian tribes," Father Walter explains. Most of them are members of the Amazon Quichua peoples. Many of the native children and even the school-age adolescents do not speak Spanish, but only their own Quechua language. Some 40% of these children do not attend school at all, since they are helping their parents in the fields.
Many children in Ecuador grow up in very poor circumstances; this country of South America has been going through a profound financial and economic crisis, ever since the collapse of several of its banks in the late 1990s. For years now, because of the economic situation, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadoreans have been leaving their home country in search of work abroad. But it is the rural indigenous peoples who are most affected by dire poverty, and it is to them above all that the pastoral concern of the Catholic Church is directed.
The parish in Napo is a very lively community, and a very young one. There are 845 children and young people here who regularly attend the religious instruction classes. Altogether, there are 123 lay catechists and two religious Sisters of the community of "Missionary families" providing this catechesis.
The classes are aimed not just at religious instruction but to be a "school of life" in which these young people are encouraged to grow up in Christian values of faith, hope and charity, and with a sense of solidarity, community and respect for God's creation. "For these children and young people, the catechesis is not only an opportunity to learn more about Jesus, but also a chance to be given advice about health," says Father Walter.
Since there is no other suitable place for teaching within this community, the catechists and the parents of the children have joined forces to build a bamboo structure. However, this is only a temporary solution that will not last long.
Now Father Walter wants to provide the community with a permanent building made of reinforced concrete bricks and metal, and he has turned to ACN for help, "so that the children and young people of this isolated people can be given an education in faith and values." The plan is for five separate rooms with floor areas close to 690 square feet.
"These rooms will help the children and young people to grow, spiritually and humanly speaking," Father Walter explains. The people themselves have no disposable income, yet they will help whenever they can. Even the children and young people have already promised their priest that they will be sure to always keep the rooms very clean.
ACN would like to help with a contribution of $9,900, and Father Walter wrote to use in advance to thank us for anything we can give. "Thank you on behalf of all the faithful in our parish. We are praying and celebrating Holy Mass for the intentions of ACN's kind benefactors." Will you Father Walter build a place for young people in Ecuador to grow in faith and maturity?
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.
to Projects in Need