Father Jose Jacob has seen one of the most primitive regions in the world. He served for seven years in the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga in Papua New Guinea, which he describes as “almost half a millennium behind [the U.S.] in progress.”
But, thanks to support from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Gospel is flourishing in the diocese, which contains many remote villages.
“Training prayer leaders and catechists to keep the church vibrant in remote areas is a priority for this mission diocese, which was started 55 years ago,” said Father Jacob, now in New York, who continues to serve the diocese as the U.S. representative. “Catholic faith has brought peace among warring tribes and clans, brought education and nearly doubled the life span of the people.”
It has been a challenge getting the funding for important projects, which is why society dollars are so important.
“It is relatively easy to obtain funds from international agencies to support our school education and medical services,” he said. “But, when it comes to religious activity or church-related programs such as formation or infrastructure, these agencies explicitly exclude such help.”
Areas of need for the mission diocese include formation of seminarians, catechists and prayer leaders, building village churches and buying dinghies with outboard motors to transport medicine, goods and people who are sick.
“We need to turn to the good Catholics of this country [U.S.] to help us build up the church and make a difference,” said Father Jacob, who works with fundraising efforts in the U.S. “The two times we preached at the mission co-op, and the Mission Sunday collections, are used for our needs.”
Category: World Mission Sunday