Help a Youth Pastoral Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Catholics are a minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina – barely 14%, and declining. During the Bosnian war, from 1992 to 1995, half the Catholic population was expelled or forced to emigrate. Even today many Catholics are leaving the country because they can see little future for themselves, owing to the discrimination they face in seeking employment, in the schools and in social life.
Local Catholic bishops have been saying for years that Catholic Croat families who would otherwise be willing to return are not being given the support they need. At the same time there is a noticeable Islamization of society, which is externally visible in the form of the numerous new mosques that are being built.
The Catholic Church is working for a better future, through its reconciliation work among all ethnic groups and through its schools and its charitable work, which is open to people of all ethnic groups. Additionally, the Church is striving to offer steady employment opportunities that will offer families some prospect for the future.
One beautiful example of this reconciliation work is the John Paul II Youth Centre in Sarajevo, which also offers a range of initiatives for promoting inter-faith and interdenominational dialogue. Each year thousands of young people benefit from the broad range of programs offered by the center, returning with great energy and enthusiasm to their own parishes to work from there in renewed faith for a better future.
At the same time, the center is able to offer employment in the form of 10 full-time posts and 10 part-time posts, thereby providing these men and women with a steady income and a future for their families. And there are an additional 300 volunteers who help out as needed.
The center offers training courses for group leaders, spiritual exercises for confirmation candidates, volunteer helpers, altar servers and other types of youth groups as well as offering ecumenical programs in which young people of different faiths can get involved, learning to take shared responsibility for a better future in the society in which they live. Those attending come not only from the Archdiocese of Sarajevo (Vrhbosna) itself but from all over the country.
Other big events are also organized, such as the large youth pilgrimage in May to the Shrine of Our Lady in Kondzilo, which was attended once again this year by well over 3000 young people. There is a music festival, with modern Christian music and a young people‘s Way of the Cross, when hundreds of young people from the individual parishes gather together in each deanery.
ACN supports the valuable work of this youth center, named after the great Pope Saint John Paul II, who had such great affection for young people and who first established the World Youth Days during his pontificate.
This year we are helping once again, with a promised contribution of $27,700.
Will you help us fulfill this promise to support Catholic youth through this pastoral center in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
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.