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.

Seminarians at Prayer during holy Mass in the seminary chapel in the diocese of Kafanchan 
© Aid to the Church in Need

The Nigeria-based terrorist organisation Boko Haram is now notorious throughout the world for the brutality of its attacks. What is less well known is the fact that Islamist nomadic Fulani tribesman are now also engaging in similar activities, burning down villages and launching other kinds of brutal attacks on other Nigerians. In 2016 alone, in the northern Kaduna State, around a thousand people were murdered by Fulani extremists, while hundreds more were injured and dozens of villages burned to the ground. Many of these attacks were deliberately targeted against Christians, and again and again their churches in particular have been destroyed.

A villager receives the absolution in the sacrament of Penance with the new boat
in the back ground 
© Aid to the Church in Need

The Catholic territorial prelature of Tefé lies in the state of Amazonas in Northwest Brazil. The prelature alone covers an area of over 265,0002 km - roughly the size of Italy - and vast sections of it are accessible only by river. The distances are immense.

Camelite sisters behind the altar in the entrance of their monastery for Corpus Domini © Aid to the Church in Need

The pilgrims in Fatima who arrived early on 13th September at the Chapel of the Apparitions were greeted with a somewhat unusual sight - a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague being carried in the arms of a religious sister in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. This image of the Christ Child, dressed as King in festive white robes, was later that day to enjoy a great triumph when, at the end of the Solemn Holy Mass on the square of the Fatima shrine, it was solemnly presented by Cardinal Dominik Duka, the Archbishop of Prague, to Bishop António Augusto dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, in whose diocese the famous Fatima shrine is of course situated. 

 

Bishop Cyr-Nestor Yapaupa negotiating with rebel forces © Aid to the Church in Need

Sadly, the Central African Republic has never truly known peace. In the 57 years since it gained independence, this country - one of the poorest in the world - has suffered one military coup after another. It is hard to keep track of all the different armed groups in the country today. Their names may differ but the crimes they commit are the same everywhere - looting, burning, rape, abduction, murder.

Back to top