The newly established Parish of Gbunzunzu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in a troubled area. Situated in an area of goldmining, it is an area where many people try to make a living digging for gold. But the mines make only a handful of people very rich while the rest are faced with exploitation, poverty, ruined health and even an early death. The workers risk their lives working in appalling conditions, exposed to carcinogenic and radioactive materials and living crammed together in crowded huts, separated from their families and far from their home villages. Very often their traditional family structures are destroyed as a result.
The one place they can turn to for help is the Catholic Church. They are in great need of help and pastoral care, and wherever the Church is unable to step in and help, the sects are quick to exploit the situation with promises of quick money and miracle healings. At the same time, there is a widespread breakdown of morals and frequently a sense of despair among these uprooted people.
The new parish is already very big, with a population of 25,000 people. It was formed by being split off from the still larger Parish of Babonde, which covers no fewer than 42 villages.
There is already a church in Gbunzunzu, and the Sacred Heart Fathers here provide all sorts of material help for the needy, including food, medicines and clothing.
Now that the new parish has been established, they want to extend their services still further, with a still stronger emphasis on education, medical care and the strengthening of moral values, since all these factors are crucial to shaping a better future for the people. Thankfully there is good reason to hope, as every year there are some 800 baptisms in the area. At the same time, the need for the other sacraments is also increasing, as is the need for sound religious instruction.
The new parish is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the existing parish church is already an important step in the right direction. But the Fathers themselves also need a house, so that they can be constantly available and accessible to others, here at the center of the parish. We have promised them $30,800.
Will you help these Sacred Heart Fathers build a house so they can better serve the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo? We are sure they will remember you gratefully in their prayers.
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