The Apostolic Vicariate of Chaco in the far north of Paraguay covers a vast area of low-lying swampland and semiarid forestland. It has a population of no more than 30,000 people and communications are very poor. Many areas can only be reached by water.
The Parish of Carmelo Peralta numbers some 3,500 people and lies close to the frontier with Brazil. Brazilian farmers have been tearing up the forest here in order to provide grazing for their cattle. This has brought in Brazilian farmworkers as well in search of work with the cattle.
By contrast, many of the native peoples belong to indigenous tribes who still live according to their traditional way of life. For them, the culture shock of two very different and colliding lifestyles has been great. The young people especially are in danger of losing their way and becoming cut off from their traditional way of life without the stable values that will enable them to cope with a new kind of culture. Instead, they rapidly fall prey to problems such as alcohol and drug addiction, promiscuity and broken families.
The presence of the Church is extremely important in accompanying the people and helping them to cope in this difficult situation, but many of the settlements of these indigenous peoples can only be reached by boat. The parish itself has no such boat, so it can be very difficult to visit the families, celebrate the Liturgy in their chapels, provide religious instruction and generally be with the people pastorally and in every other way.
At present, the parish has to hire a boat, which is very expensive, so now they are planning to purchase a boat of their own. ACN has agreed to help with a contribution of $4,400.
Will you help provide this parish with a boat so that it can provide better pastoral care to these remote faithful in Paraguay?
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