Togo is a country in West Africa with an ethnically diverse population of 6.3 million. The diocese of Dapaong lies in the far north of the country, in a region bordering on the Sahel zone. The desert is encroaching ever further into this area, making agriculture and the survival of the people increasingly difficult. Not surprisingly, therefore, it is one of the poorest regions of the country, with over 80% of the population living on less than $22 a month and 13% of them even on less than $15.
The population of the region is a very youthful one, however, with 70% aged under 21. Many are drawn to Christianity and are seeking baptism. The Good News of Christ is attracting a great many former adherents of traditional African religions. For example, the parish of Saint Paul in Dapaong has no fewer than 1000 catechumens! Hence the catechism classes are filled to overflowing with young people and adults.
(Father Joan Sole Ribas with catechumens and children from his parish © Aid to the Church in Need)
The parish priest, Father Joan Sole Ribas is delighted at the blossoming life of his parish, but at the same time it is a huge challenge for him to cope with instructing so many catechumens. There are simply no premises available for teaching them. So now he wants to build three classrooms for this catechetical work, which will at the same time serve as evening schools for teaching literacy to adults and young people, and as a musical school as well. The parish can just about cover the cost of one such classroom, but they need help for the other two. The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has promised grant of $22,000 to help this cause.
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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