9/15/2009 (5 years ago)
Aid to the Church in Need (www.kirche-in-not.org/index_s.html)
Our indigenous people are at a crossroads. In the next 10 years or so they will either embrace Christianity or Islam.
KONTAGORA (Aid to the Church in Need) - A bishop in north-western Nigeria expressed his heartfelt thanks to a leading Catholic charity, describing how it is offering help at a crucial moment in the country's struggle against extremism. His statements come amid reports from Kontagora, in Niger state, indicating that militant Muslims have tried to stop new churches being built and even knocked them down during the night.
In response to these and other challenges, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, has announced that it will be giving over $190,000 over three years to help provide aid such as literacy classes, well digging, basic health care, and education for tribes in the region. Bishop Timothy Carroll, Vicar Apostolic of Kontagora said, "Without your aid these missions could not survive."
According to the bishop local people are increasingly turning their back on tribal religions, and looking towards more global faiths. Bishop Carroll said, "Our indigenous people are at a crossroads. In the next 10 years or so they will either embrace Christianity or Islam. Thank God a lot of people are turning to the Catholic Church as the gateway to God, and the gateway for progress in literacy, health, water, etc., because we cater for both body and soul."
Bishop Carroll said, "I wish to express our deep gratitude to ACN, who are making it possible for the seeds of the Gospel to be planted... please thank your generous donors." The bishop added, "May all at ACN and all your generous donors share in the fruits of our missionary labors."
ACN's help comes amid militant Islamic opposition to the growth of the Church and the adoption of Shari'a law in Niger state despite there being roughly equal numbers of Muslims and Christians.
The Church is leading the way with social programs, including literacy courses, which take place during the January-April dry season, in order not to interrupt the farming cycle. Bishop Carroll said, "As most of our indigenous people are still semi-nomadic and almost 80 percent illiterate, we place great importance on literary courses."
Those who successfully complete three years' study can go on to the courses at the Masuga Language Center where they learn to lead prayer services, and teach Bible stories and the basics of the faith. ACN's Child's Bible, God Speaks to His Children, in the native Hausa language is one of the materials used, and a New Testament and Psalms is in preparation in another local language, Kamberi.
A Church-organized well-digging team provides its services to any communities who request it not just the Catholic ones teaching them the importance of looking after their well to avoid contamination of the water. Bishop Carroll said, "By improving the quality of water we also improve the quality of health, as most of the common illnesses are water related."
Health education is key to the mission's work, and a Sister, who is a fully qualified nurse, goes around the villages educating mothers about the causes of common diseases. Bishop Carroll stressed the importance of mothers in informing the whole community. He said, "An African proverb says, 'Educate a mother and you educate a whole family.'"
Inoculation against the common killer diseases in Africa is also carried out in the mission, and AIDS awareness and prevention classes run alongside literacy classes during the dry season. Bishop Carroll expressed his hope that some of these missions will be split into parishes in the next 5-10 years.
He said that the Shafashi mission, which serves 118 Catholic communities, could already be divided in to two parishes, but due to a shortage of priests this will have to wait. While there are plenty of priests in eastern and southern Nigeria, where the Church has had a presence at least for the last century, 80 percent of the communities in the north-west are less than a decade old.
Bishop Carroll said, "Indigenous vocations are the fruit on the tree. Here we are only planting trees at present. Fruit will come in God's time. Vocations are now starting to come in older parishes."
In conclusion the bishop thanked ACN for all its support for the work of the missions. ACN's help has included the support of missions in Karenbana, Shafashi, Bobi, Nsanji Nkoso, and Galadima in the north-west of the country.
Aid to the Church in Need" is an international pastoral aid organization of the Catholic Church, which yearly offers financial support to between 5,000 and 6,000 projects worldwide. ACN helps the poor and persecuted churches with prayer, pastoral relief and material assistance.Following a 1984 decree of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, "Aid to the Church in Need" is recognized by the Catholic Church as a "universal public association of faithful".
By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Last Friday, a very tragic event happened at the Imperial Marhaba Beach Hotel in Sousse, Tunisia. A 23-year-old man dressed just like any other tourist, passed by the hotel, and shot foreigners with a Kalashnikov rifle, he had hidden under his umbrella. Thirty-nine ... continue reading
By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Italian authorities have given the Catholic priests permission to "exorcise," or do counter-magic to Nigerian migrant girls who have been "under a voodoo spell to work as prostitutes." There are around 25,000 women from Nigeria who have been brought to Italy by ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Two hundred and nineteen girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, from the boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, are believed to have been brainwashed and now working for the Boko Haram, as reported by Amnesty International. The girls who were taken from their school grounds, a ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Thirty-seven people have been killed - and at least another 36 were injured in a terrorist shooting spree in the beachside town of Sousse in Tunisia. At least five people from the United Kingdom are listed as among the dead. The believed gunman in the massacre, ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
It's a satanic practice once thought consigned to a very, very dark age - but it is increasing in frequency throughout the African nation of Uganda. "Witch doctors" are abducting and killing schoolchildren to use their body parts in malefic rituals. It is ... continue reading
By Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Men in war-torn Somalia suffer high rates of drug addiction, divorce and mental illness, researchers said, urging donors to do more to support men and strengthen families. NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In Somali culture, men are expected to provide all ... continue reading
By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
As Katherine Chappell, the American tourist attacked and killed by a lion during an African safari tour, was being attacked, the staff of the park hesitated to treat Chappell and the ambulance took a long time to arrive, according to Pierre Potgieter, the tour guide. ... continue reading
By Obianuju Ekeocha
In the last few years, we have woken up to the indescribable horror and terror of Boko Haram. And every one of us will agree that their actions and operations are merciless, viscous and violent beyond words. And so we pray for an end to the death and destruction ... continue reading
By Stella Dawson, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Multinational companies deprive African governments of $11 billion in taxes each year, and G7 world leaders should set up a new global body to regulate corporate taxation, Oxfam International said on Monday. WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - By shifting ... continue reading
By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
When one 22 year old tourist from the United States planned her trip to South Africa, being mauled and attacked by a big angry cat was definitely not part of her itinerary. Unfortunately for this young woman, it turned out this trip would be her last. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading