Archbishop René Rebolledo Salinas faces major challenges. For his archdiocese of La Serena covers an area of over 40,000 km2 - the size of Switzerland. Consequently the distances are huge and the 500,000 Catholics of the archdiocese are widely scattered across this area. Many of the villages lie in valleys that are accessible only along rough, unmade roads.
This situation has been made still worse by the consequences of the devastating earthquake in 2015, the traces of which are still evident everywhere. In the archdiocese alone there are no fewer than 60 churches, chapels and parish houses which were damaged to varying degrees, and many of them were totally destroyed.
Most of the inhabitants of the region are farming people, earning a modest living on the land. Employment opportunities are few and far between and many people live from hand to mouth. But their faith is strong and influences their entire lives.
Archbishop Salinas would like to be a good shepherd to his people. But if he is to support them, he must first be able to reach them. His ancient vehicle is now in a very poor state and simply cannot cope with the often catastrophic road conditions. The repair costs are constantly mounting and are a great burden for the archdiocese. The bishop urgently needs a new, sturdy and reliable vehicle, so that he can go out to the people where they are.
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