For several years now Venezuela has been going through a crisis almost without parallel – a crisis only further exacerbated by the pandemic. Almost 80% of the country‘s approximately 33 million citizens today suffer extreme poverty, and many indeed real hunger. There is a dire lack of basic necessities, including water, electricity and fuel, making life almost impossible in many regions of the country. On top of this there is galloping inflation. Some people survive only thanks to support from relatives abroad, while others find themselves forced to turn to illegal activities – which in turn has led to a widespread increase in organised crime and drug trafficking. Meanwhile, at least 5 million Venezuelans have simply left the country.

The Catholic Church is today almost the only body in Venezuela that is still standing resolutely by its suffering people. Not only by providing practical support, wherever possible, but also – conscious of the need to bring hope to struggling souls and above all to the young – by helping to prepare them, from a perspective of Christian faith, so that they can work for a better future for their country. For there are many people who have a deep hunger for the Word of God.

Bishop Juan Carlos Bravo Salazar of the diocese of Acarigua-Araure wanted to be able to equip the young people in his diocese with the necessary tools to be able to grow in their faith, from a solid moral and spiritual foundation, and find the strength in their relationship with God to be able to help shape the future of their country.

VENEZUELA- Youth reading the Youth Bible (bible junior) on the meadow in front of the church

To this end he asked ACN to send him 2000 copies of the Bible and 496 copies of the Youth Bible. He also asked for 480 copies of YOUCAT, the youth catechism based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and designed for young people and young adults, which presents the most important fundamentals of the Catholic faith in a simple and easy-to-understand question-and-answer style. His aim was to deepen and intensify the catechetical outreach in the parishes – with additional online facilities available especially during the time of the pandemic.

Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we were able to provide the necessary support to fund the project and meet the bishop‘s request. Bishop Bravo Salazar has written to thank us:

“Thanks to the Bibles and the YOUCAT, we have been able to begin a marvellous task. We would like to thank you once again for the help you have given us in providing the faithful with a better religious instruction, since we are all called to help build up the Church of Christ. We give thanks to God for the goodness He has shown through each and every one of you and we pray that He may bless you all abundantly.”