Mass Stipends and Retreats for 27 Jesuit Priests in India
The state of Assam in India is well known for its vast tea plantations. Millions of people live and work here, a large proportion of whom belong to the various ethnic communities that have been traditionally at the very bottom of India‘s social structure.
Jesuits minister here pastorally to the tea plantation workers, most of whom have a strong faith and a profound desire to participate more fully in the life of the Church, receive the Sacraments and generally grow in their faith. At the same time, the priests are helping them to improve their concrete living conditions and encouraging the parents to send their children to school.
Many parents are not convinced of the need for their children to receive an education, since they themselves have never had the opportunity to attend school. As a result, the Jesuit Fathers are engaged in a vital work of gentle persuasion. Many of the parents themselves then decide to learn to read and write, since many of them cannot even write their own names. Often they sign with a fingerprint, but at the same time they can neither read nor write what they are signing up to and as a result they can be easily cheated.
The Jesuit mission in this region is still relatively young, and the priests themselves are dependent on outside help. We are proposing to help them by providing Mass offerings. The priests will then celebrate these Masses for the intentions of our benefactors while receiving support that will help them to survive.
The offering of such Mass Intentions has a long tradition in the Church. It is not considered a matter of “paying” for Holy Mass to be celebrated, but rather a gesture of love and gratitude on the part of the faithful, in return for which the priest will celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the benefactor‘s particular intentions – such as the soul of a departed loved one, for example.
In many poor countries such Mass offerings are frequently the sole means of support for many priests. We are proposing to pass on these Mass offerings of our benefactors to the 27 Jesuit priests in Assam, for a total value of $8,300 – which equates to just $300 for each priest for the entire year.
At the same time, and again thanks to the support of our benefactors, we were also able to send these priests a total of $1,400 to enable them to take part in a one-week spiritual retreat and thereby renew and refresh their own spiritual and intellectual lives. They send you their heartfelt thanks for this.
Can you give to support these priests in India as they work to improve the lives of the local people?
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