Seminarians from Our Lady of Lourdes Minor Seminary in Lalazar
© Aid to the Church in Need

Attacks against Christians are a regular occurrence in Pakistan today. Almost every priest in the country has at some time received anonymous threatening phone calls or letters. Even the bishops of the country receive threatening letters, demanding that they convert to Islam. Attacks on churches and Church properties are frequent and increasing - and sometimes they are much more serious than simply stone throwing. There have also been suicide attacks, bomb attacks, armed attacks, arson attacks and assaults by angry mobs. The danger of such attacks is a constant one. Many churches are under police protection, and the government has required the Church to take increased security measures.

The current shrine at the Baromari Mission in the Diocese of Mymensingh © Aid to the Church in Need

Recently, the Catholics of Bangladesh have had reason to rejoice on two separate occasions. First of all in November 2016, when their Archbishop Patrick D‘Rosario of Dhaka was made a cardinal - the first ever in his country. It was a great moment for many people in Bangladesh, and not only for the Catholics. Then in 2017 there was a still more amazing piece of news, when Pope Francis announced that he would be visiting this country in Southeast Asia from 30 November to 2nd December. 

CUBA - In the Archdiocese of Camagüey Holy Mass being offered on the ruins of the chapel in Jiquí after Hurricane Irma
© Aid to the Church in Need

In September 2017 vast areas of Cuba were struck by Hurricane Irma. The island was pounded by winds gusting up to 250 km an hour, torrential rainfall, tidal surges with waves of up to 30 feet and widespread flooding. At least 10 people lost their lives and there was extensive damage across wide swathes of the country. And while hurricanes are no rarity in this region, Hurricane Irma was more powerful than anything people here have experienced for decades. 

Needless to say, many of the Catholic dioceses in the country have also suffered from this natural disaster, and many of the people have been forced to stand helpless at the sight of their damaged homes and churches.

The recent opening ceremony of OMI Fathers' House in the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Madagascar's second-largest city, Toamasina
© Aid to the Church in Need

In Toamasina the Oblate Missionaries are delighted with their new mission house, which was built thanks to the generosity of the benefactors of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need who contributed of $45,000 towards this project. 

The Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary have been in charge of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Madagascar‘s second-largest city, Toamasina since 1988. The original church and parish house were built way back in 1924 and both buildings had long since suffered the ravages of time and the vicissitudes of the tropical weather. 

Formation of 8 major seminarians in the Diocese of Mongu in Zambia for the academic year 2017-2018 © Aid to the Church in Need

Zambia, a landlocked country in southern Africa, is fortunate to be enjoying a degree of stability - unlike many other African countries. Nevertheless, the country still faces numerous challenges, including poverty, poor infrastructure and at 12% an alarmingly high rate of HIV/AIDS, as a result of which numerous children have been made orphans. 

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