In September 2017, vast areas of Cuba were struck by Hurricane Irma. The island was pounded by winds gusting up to 160 miles an hour, torrential rainfall, tidal surges with waves of up to 30 feet and widespread flooding. Many of the Catholic dioceses in the country have also suffered from this natural disaster, and many of the people have been forced to stand helpless at the sight of their damaged homes and churches.
“Mary tells us that she has ‘the honor’ of being our mother, assuring us that those who suffer do not weep in vain. These tears are a silent prayer rising to heaven, always finding a place in Mary’s mantle.” Pope Francis
Some 40 percent of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Catholics live in Latin America, but the continent has seen a decline in the Catholic population. Latin America’s biggest challenge? How to engage the Catholic flock in ways that deepen their knowledge and love of the faith, thus boosting their engagement in and faithfulness to the Church.
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Archbishop René Salinas would like to be a good shepherd to his people, but if he is to support them, he must first be able to reach them. His ancient vehicle is now in a very poor state and cannot cope with the often catastrophic road conditions. The repair costs are constantly mounting and are a great burden for the archdiocese. The bishop urgently needs a new, sturdy and reliable vehicle, so that he can go out to the people where they are.
Can drug addicts be healed without expensive medication or replacement drugs, especially given that all the skills of doctors and therapists are often of little avail against the power of an addiction that can destroy a human life?
The Diocese of Rio Branco covers a vast area of over 40,000 square miles in the west of Brazil, with large areas lying in the rainforest. It is an impenetrable region of great distances, with many places accessible only by river boat. There is a grave shortage of priests here.