A Vehicle for a Parish in Malawi
Project Code: 135-01-29
Malawi is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Most of its population lives on less than one dollar a day. The country is also plagued with a high rate of AIDS, with some 12% of 15 to 49-year-olds HIV-positive. In this troubled region, the Catholic Church is doing everything in her power to help the people, maintaining numerous schools, hospitals and orphanages and being available to help the suffering people wherever possible.
But the local Church is just as poor as the rest of the population. Above all, there is a lack of priests. As a result, for every single priest there are well over 9,000 Catholic faithful, and in many regions there are even more than this. To make matters worse, the vast parishes mean the priests must travel great distances to reach the people.
In the Parish of Our Lady of Hope, in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe in central Malawi, one outstation was over 50 miles from the parish center. And given the appalling state of the roads, this represented an arduous journey of many hours, during which breakdowns and flat tires were regular occurrences. It was evident that the parish was far too large, and so it was divided.
The new parish of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which was consecrated in June 2011, still faces many problems. It has over 11,000 baptized Catholics and almost 580 catechumens, and even now the distances that Father Joseph Ukut has to travel result in lengthy, time-consuming journeys. With no car of his own, he has to borrow a car from the neighboring parish, where he also lives for the time being. On Sundays, when he has to travel to a number of different outstations to celebrate Holy Mass, he often arrives too late, given the distances between villages.
Father Joseph is often under pressure to get through the Mass quickly, so that he can reach all the villages where the people are still waiting for him. And during the rainy season, it is impossible to reach many villages with a normal car, since it would simply end up stuck in the deep mud. It is only possible to get through with a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but that is something Father Joseph simply cannot afford. The result is that many of the Catholic faithful in the remoter regions often have to wait for months to receive the sacraments, because the priest simply cannot reach them.
In order to be able to better minister to his people, Father Joseph has turned to ACN for help. We have promised him $8,600 for a sturdy four-wheel-drive vehicle. Will you give so that Father Joseph can reach the faithful in Malawi? We are sure he will remember you in his grateful prayers.
This project is an example of our work. Your donation will be attributed either to this or to another similar project that accords with the pastoral needs that ACN witnesses.