The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Friday, August 19, 2011

East Africa Appeal - Update 8/19/11

We continue to appeal for financial help for the Church in East Africa to support the network of diocesan directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies engaged in ongoing pastoral work, helping them in their additional outreach to those most affected by this crisis.

Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya alone (shown above) is now home to more than 400,000 registered refugees, nearly all of them Somali, with an estimated 70,000 people having arrived in the past two months. Although Somalia is the hardest hit, the Horn of Africa crisis is affecting Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti as well.

Our Society for the Propagation of the Faith / Holy Childhood Association directors / coordinators on the ground in Kenya have increased their outreach to the poor and suffering in this time of crisis. These local priests and Sisters are on "overtime."

From Pontifical Mission Societies Diocesan Director Father Peter Muvea in Kitui, Kenya: "Increasing food and water prices have brought families to the brink of starvation while others find themselves unable to cook relief food because of the lack of water. The visible strain and suffering is evident on people's faces."

Holy Childhood Association Coordinator Sister Pauline Mueni, also of Kitui (pictured with children), provides medicine and supplementary food to children and mothers at a post-natal clinic. The demands placed on her ministry continue to rise.

In the Diocese of Ngong, Kenya, Pontifical Mission Societies Director Father John Ntsieya (shown here) has established a feeding program for the most needy children in the area. His report earlier this week notes that the elderly and children are at greatest risk of starvation as more livestock die each day.

For more information, and continuing updates, visit our main website; there you may also download information sheets related to the crisis and the Church and its service in that part of Africa.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Responding to East Africa Crisis

A call for solidarity from the Church in East Africa. In response to that call to support the Church's increased service in the face of the growing crisis in this part of the mission world, the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States have established a special appeal for East Africa.

Pope Benedict XVI has called the Catholic community and the whole world to action, and everyone needs to play their part.

On the ground, Father Celestino Bundi, the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Kenya, has asked us for special help for the network of local priests and religious currently serving in the most affected areas. I am sure his request will not go unanswered as Catholics across our country want to respond. We have an immediate way of getting help through in this crisis, particularly though the network of Church personnel who are accompanying many of the suffering communities.

Prayer remains our first response, and we ask the Lord to send His comfort and sustaining hope to those suffering in East Africa, as He strengthens and blesses those who are helping those in such urgent need.

In this most devastating moment for our mission family in East Africa, the Church must continue with even greater effort its life-giving, hope-filled presence.

Direct contributions to, or to: Pontifical Mission Societies Appeal For East Africa, 70 West 36th Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10018, or call to donate at 1-800-431-2222, Monday through Friday (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT).