In the Indian diocese of Rayagada, there are just 50,000 Catholics among a total population of approximately 5.5 million people. And the area has been notorious for the violent attacks against Christians there. Most of these Catholics come from the poorest and most socially excluded levels of society and many live a bare subsistence existence, gathering fruits and firewood from the forests. Most are illiterate and if they are forced to borrow and fall into debt, they face exorbitant interest rates from the moneylenders, with the result that their families fall into a form of debt slavery.

The diocese covers a vast area of well over 40,000 km², and many of the villages lie in remote corners in the forests or valleys. There are just 24 parishes, also very large in area so that the distances to be covered are considerable. The Catechists, numbering 30, play an important role there. They visit the faithful in the villages and have become the “visible face of the Church“ in places where the priests only rarely manage to get. But even for the catechists many of the villages are still very difficult to reach. Until recently, the catechists had to make these long and difficult journeys on foot.

But recently, thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, ACN has been able to help Bishop Alpina Senapati to provide each of the Catechists with a bicycle. Now they are able to reach the faithful much more frequently and easily.

ACN Malta