“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Marriage Preparation Courses for Young Couples from Ethnic Minorities in India
The Diocese of Daltonganj is still comparatively young. Founded only 50 years ago, it is located in the state of Jharkhand in eastern India, one of the poorest federal states in the country. The Catholic population of the diocese is just over 67,000, distributed among 23 parishes. As such, they represent a tiny minority of the total population of 3.2 million people.
Some 45% of the population live below the poverty threshold and approximately 25% can read and write. Most people live a frugal, hand-to-mouth existence, while most of the Catholic faithful belong to the ethnic minorities and live in the villages of the dense jungle, with little or no access to any kind of modern infrastructure. The Church is the only institution that cares for them.
An important part of the Church‘s work along the faithful is her marriage preparation guidance, since a sound and healthy marriage is the foundation of solid, healthy Christian families. The aim is to foster mutual respect between the married couple and among all the family members, and to ensure both parents are able to listen to one another, live their Catholic faith together and so enable the children to grow up in an atmosphere of loving care and support. Stable, happy families are vital for the future – for a better human future and for the future life of the Church. At the same time, they provide the best possible soil for religious vocations to grow and flourish in.
To help young couples receive the best possible preparation for marriage and family life, the Diocese of Daltonganj has organized a series of 10-day courses, which run three times a year. These are held in the diocesan center, since almost all the participants live some distance away in the remote and relatively inaccessible jungle villages. Each year, 750 couples take part in these sessions, which are held separately in the different local languages spoken in the region. The last three days of each course are devoted to a form of spiritual retreat, so that the couples can deepen their life of faith, according to the old adage, “Couples who pray together, stay together.” Strong emphasis is placed on this spiritual aspect throughout the entire course, and the young couples are also given help and guidance in regard to child rearing and the many other aspects of married and family life.
ACN has committed to supporting these important courses over a period of three years, for a total sum of $53,600.
Wil you help support Catholic family through these marriage preparation courses for young ethnic minorities in India?
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