Support the Training and Medical Provision of Catechists in the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic remains in a permanent state of unrest. Ever since independence in 1960, the country has witnessed a succession of military coups, political unrest and violent conflicts. In particular, the most recent coup in 2013, which led to a civil war, has had grave and lasting consequences for the country that linger to the present day. The warring parties split up into an unknown number of armed rebel factions which constantly threaten the security of the greater part of the republic.
Among the areas still affected by the ongoing violence are parts of the Diocese of Bouar, in the west of the country. Many villages have been abandoned and the people have fled. In other places parents are still afraid to send their children to school. Violent attacks continue to occur. In May of 2021, an Italian missionary had an almost miraculous escape when he drove over a land mine with his car. Unfortunately, a passenger in the car, a young lay pastoral worker, was killed. The car was totally destroyed.
Thankfully, in the Parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel, some 5 miles from the town of Bouar, the situation has improved somewhat. Father Marek Dziedziec, a Polish missionary, is now looking to the future. He wants to train new lay catechists for his parish, while at the same time he wants to help existing catechists complete their training, since they had been unable to attend a proper catechists’ school during the time of the armed conflict. His parish has 15 outstations, and the catechists, as everywhere in Africa, play a crucial role in teaching and accompanying the Catholic faithful in the villages – where the priest himself cannot be regularly present.
Father Marek is also asking our help for the medical needs of his catechists and their families. Here in the Central African Republic, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world, it is for the most part only the Church which cares for the sick. There are many widespread infectious diseases present, with malaria in particular being a constant and ever-present threat—many people still die without treatment.
Father Marek is very concerned for the health of his catechists and their families and tries to help them as well as he can. He writes, “Our help has often saved lives and enabled them to live and do their work in peace and in good health.” But the medication that is required can be costly, so he is also asking our help for this purpose as well.
We are very keen to help for the training of his 25 catechists, and to support them in their medical needs and those of their families as well.
Will you give for the training and medical support of catechists in the Central African Republic?
We are sure Father Marek will remember you in his grateful prayers.
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