Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is providing more than 40,000 Bibles to help the faithful in Mozambique grow in their knowledge and love of God. The Charity is backing an initiative that will see 43,350 copies of the scripture distributed to ordinary Christians at peppercorn rates.

Father Sebin Mathew of the Society of the Divine Word said that the project would “make the Gospel known and well loved by the people – and thus pave the way for a personal encounter with Jesus Christ”.

The country’s bishops have backed the project, in which copies of the Biblia Sagrada Africana – an edition in the national language Portuguese produced by Pauline Books – are made available to parishes throughout the country, with the Archdiocese of Maputo receiving 6,000 copies.

As the project was being planned, Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Maputo contacted ACN to express his support for this spiritually enhancing initiative.

He wrote: “I ask ACN to do everything in its power to enable the Biblia Sagrada Africana to be brought to Mozambique.”

Adding: “I personally find this project very opportune, as it will allow us to have access to the Word of God, which we need very much, especially in the reflections and catechesis that we usually carry out in the 47 parishes of the Archdiocese of Maputo.”

Father Mathew stressed that the growing number of sects and cults in the country meant that it was more essential than ever that ordinary Christians knew their Faith well.

He said: “One of the major challenges that the Catholic Church faces is the various sects.

“They provide Bibles and biblical texts that come from dubious sources, that offer erroneous interpretations and lead the people down the wrong path.

“One of the objectives of this project is to make available the Holy Bible from a reliable source – a Bible that is well annotated, steeped in the African context and that will help people to learn about the scriptures in Bible studies and share the Word of God within their families and the Christian community.”