20,000 Catechisms for children and young people
El Salvador has still not fully recovered from the consequences of its brutal civil war from 1981 to 1991. Unemployment is high, the gulf between rich and poor is enormous and numerous organised criminal gangs continue to make the country unsafe to this day. The income of an average family is just two US dollars a day. Almost half the population are living in extreme poverty. One of the most serious consequences of all this is the mass emigration and the breakup of so many families. To date more than 2 million citizens of El Salvador have emigrated from the country, a trend that is exacerbated by the close economic ties with the United States.
The Catholic Church had to cope with many different forms of hostility during the civil war, among other things on account of the outspoken defence of the poor by Archbishop Romero – a commitment that ultimately led to his murder. This attitude of hostility towards the Catholic Church favoured the spread of numerous Protestant ecclesial communities, some of which have been receiving support from the United States for over 40 years. The civil war, together with a string of natural disasters, also caused a large influx of people into the sects.
One particular challenge facing the Church today is the increasing loss of fundamental moral values and the increase in materialism and hedonism. Among young people especially, there is a growing unwillingness to take responsibility, coupled with a general indifference with regard to the major problems facing mankind.
However, people cannot bear witness to what they do not know. Consequently, one of the principal challenges for the Church is to educate the children and young people in the faith, to help them to discover a sense of joy in this faith, to live it credibly as Christians and pass it on to others. One way of helping in this catechesis is through ACN‘s publications such as the Child‘s Bible and little catechism God speaks to His Children. Bishop Rodrigo Orlando Cabrera Cuéllar of the diocese of Santiago de Maria is very grateful for these publications, which help him “to promote the prayer of the Rosary and catechesis within the diocese“, as he writes to ACN. He is asking us for 20,000 copies of the little catechism for the children and young people in the 40 parishes of his diocese.