A Thank You for a Village Chapel in Madagascar
The Parish of Antsohihy in northwest Madagascar lies in a region of primary evangelization where the people are only now coming to embrace Christianity. Some 12,000 people in this area are already Catholics, but most of the population still adheres to traditional African religions. Within the territory of this vast parish there are 26 mission stations with their own simple chapels, in many cases no more than straw huts. It is an underdeveloped region, with no electricity, no telephone, and no postal service. Many of the villages lie in dense rainforest, and just 40% of the children actually go to school.
Given that the priest cannot be in all the villages at the same time, most of the work of proclaiming the Faith is done by lay catechists, who prepare the people for the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, First Holy Communion, and Matrimony. Each village has its own catechist who gives instruction in the Faith and calls the people together for prayer. The village of Andrafia, with its 1,400 inhabitants, is no exception and also has its own catechist.
While these catechists are a great help, only the priest can actually administer the sacraments, and so, twice a month, a priest comes to visit the village. Until recently, Holy Mass was celebrated in the hut of one of the village families, but now, thanks to our generous benefactors, ACN was able to make a grant of $53,700, and a more permanent chapel has recently been built in Andrafia. At the same time they have also built a small lodging for the visiting priest, who has to travel from some distance away and who now has somewhere to sleep for the night.
Father Jean Bosco, the Diocesan bursar for the Diocese of Ambanja, has written to thank all our benefactors for helping to make it possible to build this simple chapel, to which the Catholic faithful were so greatly looking forward. "I send my greetings and thank you all, on behalf of all the Christians in the region who helped so enthusiastically with the building of "their" church. Everybody contributed something towards the building of the chapel, so that now the Catholic faithful can gather on Sundays to pray, sing, receive instruction, hear the Word of God and gather round the Table of the Lord to receive the Bread of Life.”
“The young people carried sand and stones, the woman collected water and the children spent their playtime watching," he wrote, concluding: "I assure you of my grateful prayers and those of all the Christians in Andrafia and in our entire diocese."
This now completed project is an example of our work. If you would like to support a similar project, then please indicate the reference code below when making your donation. Thank you.
Project Code: 134-01-19