Ecuador: Advent and Christmas prayer booklets for 2,000 children and young people
Christmas is not, first and foremost, about giving presents of course, but rather, for Christians at least, about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. God came into this world as a little child to lead us to salvation. And it is in order to strengthen and deepen this awareness and their faith in it that the apostolic vicariate of Zamora in south-eastern Ecuador is planning to give 2,000 children a little booklet each, with prayers and Bible readings relating to the Advent and Christmas seasons. In this way they will be able to more deeply experience the season of Advent, the time of expectation, and prepare spiritually for the feast of Christ‘s birth.
Although over 85% of Ecuador‘s population is nominally Catholic, this South American country faces all the same problems as so many other countries around the world. Increasingly, in the name of religious tolerance, religious symbols and messages are being pushed out from the public sphere. This is particularly true of the schools, and even Church-run schools are obliged to tiptoe around pupils of other faiths in case they accuse the teachers of trying to “impose” the Catholic faith on them.
(Distributing communion to children and young people during Mass in Ecuador © Aid to the Church in Need)
As a result it is important for the Church to strengthen the Catholic children in their personal faith. These little Christmas booklets are intended to do just that by helping the love of God to grow in the children‘s‘ hearts. Then they will be able to come to the Manger at Christmas and adore the newborn Messiah, the Christ Child, together with the shepherds and the Wise Men from the East, and bring Him their love. The catholic charity Aid to the church in Need (ACN) will help this project with a grand of $5,500 so that these 2,000 children can be given these little prayer books, which will then hopefully accompany them throughout their lives.
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