Construct a New Chapel in India
Millions of Catholics throughout the world have a profound love and devotion towards the Infant Jesus of Prague. This little wax statue, around 18 inches high, depicts the Child Jesus clothed as a King and holding the globe in His left hand while blessing the whole world and everyone in it with His right. The original statue is believed to have been a wedding gift sent by Saint Teresa of Avila to a Spanish noblewoman who was traveling to Prague to be married. For some 400 years now, its home has been the Church of Our Lady of Victories in the Czech capital, where it has proved to be an endless source of graces and blessings.
Copies of this image are to be found all over the world today, and it has been greatly revered by many saints and holy people, including Edith Stein. The Shrine of the Infant Jesus in Prague was the first place to be visited by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 on his visit to the Czech Republic.
There is a particularly strong devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague among the faithful in India. There are a number of large shrines here dedicated to the Infant Jesus of Prague in churches that can accommodate several thousand of the faithful, while thousands more also follow the celebration of Holy Mass and the other religious ceremonies on the square in front of the church. The image is revered not only by Christians but also by Hindus and members of other religions, who express their devotion by hanging garlands of flowers on and around the statue. There is an atmosphere of boundless love and devotion.
In India, it is not only in the great shrines that this devotion to the Infant Jesus is found. Churches and chapels are dedicated to Him even in the remotest regions of the country. Here, too, the faithful look to the Child Jesus, their “Little King” who holds the whole world in His hands, to hear their prayers and petitions, for they see and understand that this is the Child of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:5-6).
Thanks to the generous support of ACN’s benefactors, another such chapel will very soon be consecrated in the Parish of Tadepalligudem in the Diocese of Eluru, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a very poor region that repeatedly suffers extreme weather and natural disasters. There are more than 1,150 Catholic villages in this region, together with numerous other localities in which more and more people are coming to believe in Jesus Christ.
The Parish of Tadepalligudem itself includes 11 villages whose inhabitants are already Catholics. Altogether there are some 6,000 Catholic faithful living in the parish, and many more are seeking baptism. Many villages have small mud chapels, built as much as 60 years ago and which are now either in a very dilapidated state or simply far too small for the growing number of worshippers. One such place is the village of West Vipparu. Previously there was a small chapel here, built partly using asbestos and now close to collapse.
Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors we were able to provide $11,200 so that a new chapel can be built and dedicated to the Infant Jesus of Prague. The work is advancing rapidly, and the people can hardly wait to finally be able to gather there to pray. Very soon the building will be finished.
Father Dharma Raju Matta has already written to thank us: “Out of gratitude for your help the faithful are regularly praying the Rosary for all our benefactors. The chapel is already being used to praise the Lord and give thanks to God as a united Christian community.”
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