Christians in Pakistan meet with all kinds of discrimination, harassment and oppression. Most of these Christians are from the poorest and lowliest sections of society and they face a variety of difficulties that block their social advancement. Usually they are the ones who perform the most menial tasks, such as road sweepers or domestic helpers. Most of them would like to see their children have a better life, but their hopes are often frustrated by the fact that Muslims generally receive more favourable treatment and have better opportunities, even with the same level of education, while for the poorer Christian families even sending their children to school in the first place involves great financial sacrifice.
Most families have many children, and these children are seen as a gift from God and a sign of hope for the future. The parents are proud to see their children gain a good education, but most of them cannot read or write themselves, and so they can do little to help their children. Often mothers and older sisters have to go to work as well, in order to be able to pay the school fees.
When Christian children are sent to a state school, they often find themselves pressured to renounce their faith. To prepare for this pressure, most Christian children attend school first in their own parishes, in one of the many Sunday schools, to root them more deeply in their own faith. Here they can grow spiritually, as they pray and sing together and come to better know the Good News of the Gospel. With great enthusiasm, they re-enact some of the Bible stories as theater performances. In this way they not only enhance the beauty of the great religious feasts but also help their parents, who for the most part cannot read the Bible themselves, to better know and understand the Bible stories.
The Sisters of Saint Paul, a congregation very much involved in the media apostolate, have been active in Pakistan since 1965 and have produced a wide range of religious and catechetical literature. Now they would like to produce a little Bible for children that will contain not only Bible stories but also short prayers. The idea is to use this book in the Sunday schools and in the religious education classes of the Catholic schools.
“Once the children are well grounded in their faith, the parents are less afraid of sending them to the state schools,” the Sisters report, for then there is less danger that they will be deflected from their faith. ACN has promised a contribution of $7,400 towards the cost of printing 5,000 copies of this book.
Will you give to fund the printing of these Bibles for children in Pakistan? We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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