Prospect of hope and a future for the South Sudanese refugees dispersed throughout many camps in Uganda

ACN 20180918 76930 2

Christine du Coudray, the person responsible for the Africa Department at the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), returned from a journey to Uganda a few weeks ago. While there she visited the Bidibidi and Imvepi camps located in the north-west of the country. There are 1.2 million refugees, coming for the most part from South Sudan, dispersed throughout the camps in this region, which covers the dioceses of Arua, Nebbi and Gulu. On top of this there are also refugees to be found in the environs of Kampala, the capital located in the centre of the country. In an interview Robert Lalonde gathers some initial impressions of the trip.

 

From Colombia, a story of forgiveness without limits

5Her name is Pastora Mira Garcia and through acts of Christian love and forgiveness in the face of hatred and violence, she has become one of Colombia’s best-known women of faith as her nation is still grappling with the aftermath of decades of unrelenting violence. The past 60 years saw an armed struggle involving Marxist guerillas, government troops and extreme right-wing militias. By the time a controversial peace deal was struck with the largest guerilla group in 2016, by some estimates as many as 900,000 people had died in the conflict and seven million Colombians were displaced.

In September 2017, when Pope Francis visited the country, Pastora was chosen to address the Pope and the nation at large to give a testimony of her commitment to Christ’s commandment to “love one another”. She tells her story in an interview with the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need. From the beginning, it has been the charism of the charity to promote reconciliation and forgiveness.

Image above: Pastora Mira Garcia is known as a woman of great faith in Colombia.

IRAQ: “I want my child to grow up in Iraq”

Young Christian parents have found a house for themselves and their newborn child thanks to Aid to the Church in Need. For some Christians in Iraq, the future is just a few weeks old.

Baby Timotheus was born in mid-May. “It is my heartfelt wish that my son will be able to grow up in Iraq. God will find a way,” his father Samir hopes. He and his wife Siba are proud parents – and devout Christians. Their baby will be baptised in just a few weeks. The young couple – he is 30, she 25 – live in Bartella, a Christian town on the Nineveh plains near Mosul. The majority of its inhabitants are Syriac Orthodox. 

Iraq Above: Samir (30) lives with his wife Siba and and their baby in Bartella.

Madagascar: Mass offerings for the 70 priests of the diocese of Morondava

Bishop Raharilamboniaina with the priests in his diocese assisted by ACN
© Aid to the Church in Need

Having a Holy Mass celebrated for a particular intention is a long and venerable tradition. The offering, given to the priest by the person concerned is in no sense a "payment", but rather a gesture of love and gratitude and also of financial support for the individual priest who in the words of Consecration in Holy Mass once more makes present the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the altar. For many priests in the poorest countries of the world these Mass offerings are in fact a crucial means of survival.

Ecuador: Advent and Christmas prayer booklets for 2,000 children and young people

Distributing communion to children and young people during Mass in Ecuador 
© Aid to the Church in Need

Christmas is not, first and foremost, about giving presents of course, but rather, for Christians at least, about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. God came into this world as a little child to lead us to salvation. And it is in order to strengthen and deepen this awareness and their faith in it that the apostolic vicariate of Zamora in south-eastern Ecuador is planning to give 2,000 children a little booklet each, with prayers and Bible readings relating to the Advent and Christmas seasons. In this way they will be able to more deeply experience the season of Advent, the time of expectation, and prepare spiritually for the feast of Christ‘s birth.

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