Support Youth Apostolate in Pakistan
Roughly half of the 207 million people who make up the population of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are younger than 25, while one third of them are aged 14 or younger. For young Christians, living in a society that is 97% Muslim, there are many problems which their Muslim counterparts do not face. For many Christians, it is almost impossible to advance professionally within society. The religious minorities such as the Christians find themselves in the lowest strata of society, mostly having to work as street sweepers, day laborers or domestic employees. A Christian name can be enough to block one‘s access to higher studies, and non-Muslims are seen as second-class citizens, not full Pakistanis.
They are even unfavorably portrayed in official school textbooks, and the many services performed by Christians on behalf of the country are passed over in silence. Islam is promoted in almost every area of the curriculum, most notably in the selection of essay topics. Christian pupils are often insulted and excluded, or else pressured to convert to Islam.
For Christian girls it is even worse, since they are doubly discriminated against, on account of their gender. And young Christian girls face a very real danger of being abducted and forcibly married to their abductors, which also means being forcibly converted to Islam.
In response, the Catholic Church in Pakistan is working very hard to encourage Christian young people to take pride in their faith and give confident and capable answers whenever they are confronted with prejudice and ignorance. Many Catholic children also attend one of the many Church-run Sunday schools, but the older teenagers also need guidance and support in living their faith. So it was that in November 2019 the Catholic Church in Pakistan announced a “Year of Youth” for this year, 2020, which will contain a range of different initiatives.
Now the Youth Commission of the Diocese of Faisalabad is seeking support for its youth apostolate program. Its aim is to strengthen young Catholic women and men in their faith and help them to stand firm – while at the same time finding their rightful place in society. ACN is supporting this initiative with a contribution of $7,900.
Will you join in helping young Christians grow in their faith in Pakistan?
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.