Urgent Repairs for a Parish Presbytery in Mozambique
Today, almost 30 years after Mozambique was devastated by a savage civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992, large areas of the country have still not recovered from this bloody conflict. Widespread material devastation remains, and profound spiritual and psychological scars are still a reality.
In the year 2000, at the request of the Archbishop of Maputo, a community of Indian missionaries of Saint Francis of Sales arrived in this country of southern Africa to work in some of the most severely affected, remote and underdeveloped regions. Among their goals was to rebuild the shattered Church infrastructure – and still more to help heal traumatized souls.
The missionaries, who now run eight separate mission stations, had to start from scratch. For nearly 30 years prior to their arrival, there had been no Church mission and no evangelization. The ruling Marxist regime was hostile to the Church, and faith and morals were “at rock bottom,” as the Fathers tell us.
The Indian priests began to rebuild the churches and chapels, as well as devoting themselves to the care of souls. They visited people in their homes, proclaiming the Gospel, listening to them, comforting and consoling them and providing straightforward practical help at the same time. “During the long years of the civil war they had, quite literally, been sheep without a shepherd. Now they are gradually returning to more fertile pastures and accepting Christ as their Lord and Redeemer,” writes Father Ranjit Tirkey.
One of the mission stations in their care is the parish of Bela Vista in the province of Matutuine in the south of the country. The parish has a population of 45,000, with 16 outstations where Holy Mass is celebrated. Part of the parish lies in the jungle, and it was previously very difficult to travel to some of the villages, since the roads became impassable in the rainy season on account of the mud and the small rivers and streams.
There is now a tarred road at last, but the three Indian priests still have to carry out their work in the most difficult of conditions. There is deep poverty and widespread disease in this remote and undeveloped region, and the priests have to be helpers and councilors to the people, not only in their spiritual need but also in their many material needs. The priests strive to be all things to all people, even in the midst of their own poverty.
Their precarious situation includes their own living accommodation. The presbytery is in a dilapidated and neglected condition and has not been repaired or maintained for some twenty years now. The roof and water tank leak, the water pipes are rusted, and the sanitary facilities are badly damaged.
We are proposing to help them carry out at least the most urgent and necessary repairs with a grant of $4,900. Will you help support these poor priests ministering in remote regions of Mozambique? We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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