The territorial prelature of Jesus Maria del Nayar covers an area of 25,000 km2 in the highlands of central western Mexico - an area more than half the size of Switzerland. And yet the population is only around 135,000 and widely scattered. Around 120,000 of these people are Catholics. But there are just 14 priests to minister to this vast area, which is one of the poorest in the whole of Mexico.
Given this situation, the work of the religious sisters is especially important and valuable. There are some 24 religious sisters of the local congregation of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of Jesus and Mary, who work within the prelature. The congregation was established in 1970 to provide pastoral and social support to the people in this difficult mountainous terrain. It has eight small communities in the local towns, from which the sisters go out to minister to the villages of the surrounding area. Needless to say, many of the settlements are widely scattered across this hilly region. In the past the sisters used to have to travel with donkeys or mules through the mountains in order to reach these villages. They work among the indigenous Indian peoples, who live in great poverty. Their apostolate includes working with children and young people, helping expectant and nursing mothers and teaching them how to care for their babies, supporting and advising the families, caring for the sick and elderly and providing medical support where needed. They also teach. But their pastoral role is of primary importance. They gather the people together for prayer when the priests are unable to reach them, singing and praying and giving catechetical instruction.
(One of the sisters visiting children in the prelature of Jesus Maria del Nayar © Aid to the Church in Need)
The sisters themselves live in great poverty and carry out their difficult apostolate among the poor and disadvantaged without asking any payment in return. But they still need the basic necessities in order to survive, and so - in order to help them for one more year with their basic necessities, food, transport, medical supplies and other essentials - the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) have provided them with vital basic support of $14,000. In thanks the sisters have written back to ACN with thanks and promised their prayers for the charity’s benefactors.
The vital work of Catholic charities like Aid to the Church In Need provide a lifeline to the Church wherever she is poor, persecuted or threatened. Please help our work by donating online or send your donation to Aid to the Church in Need, PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153. Ph: (02) 9679-1929
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