Construct a Parish Church in Nigeria

Project Code: 141-01-19

When speaking with ACN, African bishops and priests again and again emphasize just how important church buildings are for African Christians. Africans have a powerful sense of the "sacred space." Often they lament the fact that many European Catholics do not appear to understand them in this respect. For many people in the modern world seem to think it is better to build something "useful." This sense of the sacred and of the mysterious is becoming increasingly lost in the Western world.Support this Project

In 1990, a new parish was established in the town of Okugbe-Okpella in Edo State, in southwest Nigeria. It has nine outstations, some of which are very remote from the center. When the parish was first established, everything was extremely difficult. There was no money, and in many places no roads, no transport or means of communication. Pagan beliefs were still widespread among the people, and the healthcare situation was poor indeed.

Since then much has changed thanks to the presence of the Church, but there are still many problems. Above all, the Catholic faithful long to have a proper parish church of their own, and they have been saving for years for this purpose. For even though they are extremely poor and and live from hand to mouth, scarcely able to feed themselves with what little they can grow in their fields, the House of God is so important to them that they are quite literally willing to go without in order to contribute to it.

Everybody tries to put at least something in the collection plate each Sunday, and at harvest time the families offer up a part of their harvest. And even the people who work in the towns and can only come home on holidays to visit their families, willingly contribute to the Church.

But more than this, they also pray fervently that one day their church will at last be finished. The bishop has even approved a special prayer to this end, which says: "We firmly believe that You, O Lord, will hear our prayers, so that we can build in our midst a worthy house in which we can worship You."

Thanks to the many sacrifices made by the faithful in this way, the walls of the church are already standing, but the funds will not extend to the cost of the roof. Yet if this roof is not built quickly, the existing structure is in danger of being damaged by the heavy rain falls of the wet season. Then all their efforts will have been in vain.

Father Lawrence Nwaneri, the parish priest writes: "I can testify to the fact that, without your help, the beautiful dream of having a church for the celebration of the Sacraments will be completely brought to nothing."

ACN has already promised $8,100 towards the cost of the roof, so that all the hard work and sacrifice of the Catholic faithful in Okugbe-Okpella will not have been in vain.

Will you help keep this promise so that these faithful can construct a church for their parish in Nigeria?

Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.



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