The island of Basilan in the southern Philippines is one of the few places in the country where Muslims are the majority, making up close to two thirds of the population. It is part of the Mindanao group of islands, a region where the Islamist terrorists of the Abu-Sayaf group have been trying to establish a breakaway “Islamic State of Mindanao.” Though they describe themselves as “Islamic fighters,” they are regarded by the international community and by the rest of the Filipino population as terrorists and criminals. They continue to try to spread fear and division through bombings and abductions.
The Parish of Saint Anthony in Lamitan City is a vigorous and thriving parish, despite these circumstances. There is a regular Sunday congregation of 700 Catholic faithful. The parish church has stood here for 40 years, but over the course of time it has become increasingly decrepit and far too small for the growing Catholic community. There is an urgent need for a new and larger church, but the parish is too poor to raise the funds for such a project.
Bishop Martin Jumoad supports this project, which is dear to his heart. There is an obvious need for the church, and at the same time it will be a powerful sign of the presence and identity of the Catholics in this town.
The bishop wrote to us, saying, “We would like to build a solid and permanent church that will convey a message of stability and solidarity and of the strong faith of the people of God. The Muslims respect people who are united and strong and who live a life of prayer. A solid church will earn their respect and will hopefully also help to bring peace to our land.”
ACN is helping with a contribution of $32,600.
Will you give to construct this church in a region of the Philippines where Christians are a minority?
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.