This weekend we are holding our annual Catholic Mission Appeal and we welcome our speaker for the appeal, Maureen Crowley Heil, who will be speaking at a number of our Masses. This year’s appeal highlights the important work of Catholic Mission in Ghana, through programs designed to rescue babies and children who are vulnerable and foster their personal development for a brighter future. The theme of the appeal comes from Isaiah 41:10, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you”. It reflects the uncertainty that children who are vulnerable face and confirms God’s love and presence in their lives even during difficult or desperate times.
Under traditional customary beliefs in some communities in Ghana, behaviour considered to be abnormal can be linked to the spiritual world and children may be accused of witchcraft if they exhibit such behaviour. Children born with a disability or where the mother dies during their birth are also at risk under these beliefs.
Distressingly, these children are often rejected by members of their family and community; some are killed as they are seen as a bad omen. The Church and the Ghanaian government are making great strides in educational programs in an attempt to change these beliefs; however, as Bishop of Yendi Vincent Sowah Boi-Nai says, “old habits die hard.” The Nazareth Home for God’s Children in the Diocese of Yendi in Ghana is a haven where children of all ages are loved and cared for unconditionally. Sister Stan Therese Mumuni has dedicated the last decade to running this home, which currently cares for 78 boys and girls, giving them safety, nutritious meals, healthcare and education. Sister Stan ensures the children receive quality education so that they may one day gain employment and provide for themselves. Her dream is that they will return to their home community and show how the love and support of the Church has empowered them to develop and reach their goals.
The Nazareth Home for God’s Children is one of the many critical initiatives established by the Catholic Church in Ghana to save and nourish the lives of the country’s most vulnerable young people. Without the tireless efforts of Sister Stan and other religious and lay missionaries around the country, many children will lose out on all that life has to offer. However, the survival of these programs, and the children and young people who benefit so greatly from them, relies so much on the support you can provide today.