Jesus Christ, our high priest, “always lives to make intercession for those who draw near to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). We ask you to follow Him and intercede for our missionaries in Africa, whose energy is always devoted to drawing people nearer to God.
Here are four ways to pray for our four missions in Africa.
1. Pray an “Our Father” daily for children in Zambia: those orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and those too poor to receive an education.
Zambia, along with most of Sub-Saharan Africa, suffers from incredibly high HIV/AIDS prevalence. To put things in perspective: The country’s total population is 14.5 million, and one in every eight people lives with HIV — over 1.5 million people. The adult death toll from HIV/AIDS reaches tens of thousands every year, and there are orphanages full of children to prove it.
Missionhurst is committed to taking in some of these orphans and being family to them, though they have been robbed of their blood relations. Our home for orphans, “The Sunflower Family Center,” is run by Fr. Pierre Ruquoy and accommodates ninety children.
Our hope is that this place would be not only a shelter for these children, but also a refuge of love and faith. Pray that these children will learn their worth as God’s children and grow up with a firm foundation of trusting in His providence. Pray that continued aid from the government and the international community would end the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Additionally, there are few, if any, educational opportunities for orphans or children with poor families. Zambia’s illiteracy rate hovers near 40%.
One of our other projects in Zambia provides alternative school opportunities for children whose families cannot pay fees for government schools. Fr. Peter Koh partnered with a group of Catholic sisters to formalize their efforts at starting one of these schools. He then started similar initiatives in two other towns.
Pray for those serving in these schools to carry on the work of Jesus, the Great Teacher. Pray that the students’ basic education would enable them to build God’s kingdom wherever they live and work and provide them with more opportunities to thrive.
2. Offer up a Mass for the intentions of Senegal: for the conversion of Muslims and for a stronger economic system with sustainable industry.
Senegal has had the blessing of a stable political climate for several years now. It is said to be one of the most successful democratic transitions in Africa, post-colonialism. However, the country is plagued by extreme economic inequality and high unemployment (48%). They do not have many natural resources and the agricultural sector is at the mercy of unreliable rainfall, occasional drought, and occasional flooding.
The religious climate is predominantly Islamic, with Muslims comprising over 90% of the population. Fortunately, Senegal is officially a secular state and thus tolerates the Christian minority that makes up about 5% of the population. Though we and our parishioners are not persecuted in any way, we’ve seen few conversions from Islam to Christianity.
We live and work alongside the poor, whether they’re Muslim or Catholic. We pray that they would let us enter into their hardships of tenuous financial situations. We pray that economic opportunities would open up for those who have no job prospects, especially the youth.
But we also pray for an increase in faith: for the many Muslims surrounding us to open their eyes to the love and the invitation of Christ and for the Christians to to let their faith grow deeper in the midst of a strong Muslim influence.
3. Pray through a Psalm each day for peace, stability, and an end to corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The DRC is one of the most populous countries in Africa, ranking fourth with over 79 million people. Unfortunately, that means there are many affected by the rampant violence and corruption in the country. Since 1996, the country has endured unending conflict from civil wars. They’ve seen too many political leaders ascend to power only to be overtaken by another corrupt official. Countless innocent civilians have been killed without reason, had property confiscated, or been subject to sexual violence.
Difficult terrain in the Congo Basin coupled with decades of political unrest have prevented the government from investing in national infrastructures such as roads, schools, and medical facilities. Many people live far from basic necessities and have no choice but to walk on foot for miles to receive help.
Though the circumstances may sound hopeless, we know that the God of hope is on our side. We work in the capital city, Kinshasa, to bring Christ’s light to such a seemingly dark place. We love to work with the youth in a ministry called “Youth of Light,” which equips the young people to reject evil and love the Lord’s goodness. They are called to be light-bearers and bring the Gospel wherever they go.
We pray for the youth to stay strong. We pray for an end to the culture of violence and exploitation. We pray that God would provide resources to give villages the things they need, such as hospitals, schools, and roads. And we pray for hope to fill the hearts of people in the DRC.
4. Fast from a meal weekly for Cameroon’s intentions: integrity in its political system and quality education among the rural poor.
Though Cameroon is considered one of the more stable countries in Africa with regard to its political and social climate, the corruption that lies beneath the surface runs deep. Citizens allegedly enjoy modern civil right and civil liberties, but many say that they’re free in name only, not in practice. Government officials suppress any activity that threatens their own power, even when it is perfectly in line with the law.
Our work in Cameroon is in an area with low school attendance. One of our focuses in that area is education. We advocate for the youth to become literate and computer-proficient. Many families are reluctant to send their children to school when there is so much work to be done in the fields. However, these two basic areas of education will give the whole community hope for a better future, and we try to emphasize that to the families.
Our other focus is pastoral. We teach our parishioners how prayer and the sacraments will transform their lives; we desire to see spiritual growth stem from these things. We are trying to build strong communities of faithful Catholics who want to grow closer to God and one another.
Pray for government officials to keep the people’s interests in mind, rather than their own. Pray for our educational work and for the children to benefit from these programs. And pray that God’s love would overwhelm the people and challenge them to live out their faith more fully.
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