Help Catholic Dalits in India

You can touch the soul of an “untouchable,” and nurture the precious gift of faith.

The Dalits in Northern India, also known as “untouchables,” belong to the lowest level of Indian society.  Most of them Catholics, they live below the poverty line in India and survive in mud and straw huts.  They are kept isolated at the very edge of villages.

During our last visit to India, we met with Asha, a Dalit woman living in the Archdiocese of Patna with her husband and four children.  Her life is one of constant struggle and hardship.

I work in the fields doing manual farm labor.  I earn 50 rupees [75¢] per day.  With that amount I am not able to look after all the needs of the house.  Should I buy salt and rice for my family?  Or, should I send my children to school?”

There is very little opportunity for Dalits to lift themselves out of the poverty and anguish they experience each day.  Asha is even forced to send her children to bed hungry when it rains because her roof leaks and she cannot cook.  What gets a mother through this kind of heartache?

Asha’s faith gives her the courage to face life.  In the eyes of the Church, she is not an “untouchable,” but a cherished child of God. (Watch a moving video of Asha’s life below.)

The local Church already provides food, social services, education and job training for the Dalits.  But they have come to us asking our support for the spiritual and emotional well-being of the Dalits as well.

This Lent, you can help strengthen the faith for our Dalit brothers and sisters.  Funding a parish hall or community center, or supporting the formation of priests and sisters, will reaffirm to these faithful that although they have been cast aside by society, they will never be turned away and will always be welcomed where God is present.

Thank you for giving Asha and the Dalit community the gifts of faith and acceptance – spiritual places where they are safe and respected, priests and Sisters who listen and counsel and never judge or condemn.

May God bless you for your compassion and kindness.  A peaceful and joyous Easter to you and your family.

Here is my Easter gift to my Dalit brothers and sisters.