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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, July 11, 2011
14th Sunday of the year – 3rd July 2011
Next weekend, a representative from the charity Aid to the Church in Need will speak after each Mass, to introduce a project in Zimbabwe which this parish will be supporting.

Zimbabwe is a country which remains in a permanent crisis. Despite its rich natural resources, it has the lowest life expectancy in the world: an average of just 37 years for women and 34 for men. The state-run healthcare system has collapsed, and countless people are dying of AIDS and cholera. Food production is in crisis following the often violent expulsion of white farmers from their land.

The Catholic Church has been a prophetic voice speaking out against the government. At the beginning of this year, the local Bishops’ Conference issued a letter which said “corruption is a cancer which is destroying our nation”. As a result church leaders have been vilified and harassed. Many priests went into hiding for protesting against the Mugabe regime’s corrupt electoral practices.

In spite of all this, the Catholic Church continues patiently to do what she can for her people: offering the sacraments and caring for the suffering in her clinics, schools and food kitchens.

To undertake all this work, the Church in Zimbabwe needs priests, but it is a struggle for her to fund the training of seminarians. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is a charity which provides material and financial help to the suffering Church in all parts of the world, and has received a request from the Bishop of Hwange to support the training of 24 seminarians in his diocese.

Hwanga is west of the Zimbabwe and does not have a major seminary of its own. Consequently students have to travel to Harare (ten hours driving time) or Bulawayo (six hours) for their studies. Unfortunately the diocese does not have the means to pay the full cost of study and travel for its students.

Next weekend, after each Mass, a representative from ACN will make a brief appeal to our parish to support the training of the 24 seminarians of Hwange diocese as an ongoing project. In return for our support, the diocese will provide us with regular written updates and photographs detailing the progress of the seminarians.

In addition there will be a longer presentation in the annexe after each Mass, giving more details of this project and the situation in Zimbabwe. Please attend this if you can, to hear about the vital work ACN do in supporting the work of the Church in this troubled country.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:06 am