Mass Stipends for 98 Priests in India
The Diocese of Miao, in Northeast India, was only established in 2005 and lies in one of the remotest and most backward regions of the country. Yet, in the midst of all the poverty and destitution, the priests who are working here are witnessing a real flourishing of the Catholic faith among people who until recently had never even heard of the Gospel message.
It was only 40 years ago that the Catholic faith first reached this area. At that time all missionary work was still banned and many missionaries were imprisoned and suffered greatly for their faith. Among these men were Bishops Thomas Menamparablil and George Pallipparampil, who sowed the first seed of the faith in this region. Their suffering and the struggles they had to endure are now a source of inspiration for the missionaries working here today.
In many parts of the diocese the people had never even heard of the Gospel until the 1990s. Some areas are still cut off from the outside world during much of the six-month rainy season as a result of landslides and mudslides; others are practically inaccessible during the harsh winter months. Much of the diocese is high in the Himalayas, on the frontier with Burma.
The population of the area belong to various different ethnic minority tribes and most live in extreme poverty, without electricity or other services that we tend to take for granted. While the rainy season often brings flooding, in winter the rivers dry out. Poor hygiene leads to various forms of infectious diseases, and child mortality is high. One corner of the family hut is often used as a bathroom, and pigs and dogs often live together with the family in a single room. The children sleep, play and eat in close proximity to the animals. In most cases the hospitals are far away in the towns and hence virtually inaccessible.
In some of the remote corners of the diocese the priests have to walk, often for three, four, or even five hours along difficult mountain tracks in order to reach the Catholic faithful. Their role involves not only proclaiming the Good News and administering the Sacraments, but also practical development work. Up to 95% of adults are illiterate here, and many cannot see why their children should need to learn to read and write either. And then there are issues of health care and hygiene… in short, the priests in this region have to be "all things to all people” and attend not only to spiritual but also to corporal works of mercy.
The 98 priests in this diocese also need something to live on themselves. Since the ordinary people are too poor to support them, ACN has stepped in to help – and so, in your name, we are providing Mass intentions for them. The 1,960 Mass intentions requested come with offerings of $17,900 – that represents just $182 for each priest for an entire year. In return these courageous priests are happy to celebrate the Masses requested, for the intentions of the benefactors who have given them.
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.