Nuestros proyectos en el norte de la India

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) supports Catholics in the North of India, where a large number of the faithful – our sisters and brothers – are Dalits or tribal people. Both groups are very much neglected and extremely poor and discriminated in the Indian societal structure. The Catholic Church is providing them above all spiritual support through various pastoral initiatives. For “man does not live from bread alone”. There is material poverty, but faith makes a difference. The poorest of the poor suddenly feel stronger when they become part of a community. This experience is so overwhelming that they are willing to make major efforts to achieve it. For instance, they have to walk for hours or spend the little they earn – rarely more than one or two dollars per day – on transportation to get to their nearest church. For families who live off the land, working in the fields, it means that initially they have to give up even more. To have a church or chapel built close to their village is a priceless gift to them. A chapel or church does not only serve as a place to gather and worship. It is also a visible sign of communion and shared faith. It strengthens the identity of Christians, which is so important to this marginalized but engaged community.

The presence of a catechist in the village is also extremely important. In this part of the world, catechists are the lifeblood of the Church especially for Dalits. Catechists are those who lead the community and give hope and consolation. Catechists are in direct contact with the local population. They are the first persons to be involved in faith formation. They create a religious atmosphere in the village. The catechists, as all their neighbours, work in the fields. Their income is so low that they can barely survive. ACN provides them the possibility to attend Christian faith formation courses where they also learn how to develop new perspectives for their daily lives and building their community.

Otro de los pilares de la Iglesia católica de la India es un proyecto que recibe el nombre de Pequeñas Comunidades Cristianas. Los grupos del proyecto se reúnen unas veces en domicilios privados, otras en parroquias que les invitan a distintos cursos basados en las creencias cristianas. Rezan juntos, y también tratan sus luchas diarias y cómo superarlas. Guiadas por la Biblia, por religiosas, sacerdotes o laicos cualificados, las Pequeñas Comunidades Cristianas constituyen en todos los sentidos una fuente de fuerza para sus miembros. El objetivo general es entablar relaciones en las que todos se ocupan de todos, como afirma Veronique Vogel, responsable de los proyectos de ACN en la India. “”Compartiendo el Evangelio, los laicos se convierten en una parte comprometida de la Iglesia y se les anima a acercarse a otras personas”, explica. “Leyendo la Biblia, se les hace evidente el valor y la dignidad de cada ser humano y aprenden a respetar y compartir las cargas de los demás. Se anima a los miembros del grupo a identificar los problemas que les rodean y a proponer soluciones prácticas. Después, a medida que crecen en la fe y el servicio, desarrollan un mayor sentido de, por ejemplo, su papel en la familia, del valor del matrimonio y de la igual dignidad de hombres y mujeres, las cuales acaban adquiriendo mayor confianza y una mejor comprensión de la belleza de sus responsabilidades particulares como madres. El resultado es que las Pequeñas Comunidades Cristianas transforman a los laicos que mediante su testimonio y sus acciones concretas llevan los valores del Evangelio a la sociedad”.

El apoyo pastoral de ACN a las comunidades católicas del norte de la India se materializa en la dotación de literatura religiosa, especialmente biblias, en la construcción de capillas, iglesias y casas para religiosas y sacerdotes, en el desarrollo de programas de catequesis y en el trabajo de las Pequeñas Comunidades Cristianas. Todo ello contribuye a cambiar la vida de los dalits conforme a los valores cristianos.

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ABOUT US

Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organization for war refugees and recognized as a papal foundation since 2011, ACN is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, through information, prayer and action, wherever they are persecuted or oppressed or suffering material need. ACN supports every year an average of 6000 projects in close to 150 countries, thanks to private donations, as the foundation receives no public funding.