I went to India last month primarily to attend the 3rd CFC National Leaders Conference. India is the second most-populated country next to China, and CFC Canada cannot take care of the evangelization work there on its own. And so India was divided into 5 regions, with CFC Canada taking care of the Odisha region.
Despite the persecution in the area, the harvest
is rich in India. Although the predominant religions are Hinduism and Islam, with Catholics comprising a minority, the numbers are still significant in terms of evangelization efforts. However, the laborers are few.
But one blessing is that CFC has the support of the Catholic church in the area, and we enjoy a close relationship with Archbishop John Barwa, who pastors the area. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, likewise gave his go signal for CFC to do evangelization work in the assigned region of Odisha. Because of these 2 significant events, the Christian Life Programs became open to all the Dioceses and parishes.
Such were the opportunities being opened to Couples for Christ in India, that when our brother Francis Almeida was serving as a full-time pastoral worker in the country, doors were likewise opened for the ANCOP Child Sponsorship Program in the said region.
To date, we have more than 200 scholars already. But even then, we have barely scratched the surface. Even before we went to India for the Conference, we have been receiving inquiries from the different religious institutions on how ANCOP can extend financial assistance especially on education.
It is an ideal partnership, as ANCOP collaborates with the local Church in India. We are able to touch on their spirituality through the Eucharist and values formation, and share the CFC culture to the sponsored children. Through the partnership, ANCOP is not only extending financial help. We are also able to make them feel the love of God by helping them elevate the living conditions and physical well-being of the children.
According to statistics, out of the 1.2 billion people living in India, half are living in poverty. Most of the children ANCOP Canada is helping come from the rural areas. This is what the Holy Father Pope Francis is encouraging us to do, to “go to the peripheries”. And that is what ANCOP Canada is striving to do, especially in this work in India.
My prayer has always been for God to bless this mission that the Lord gave to ANCOP Canada. I know this is God’s work, and my constant prayer is for the Lord to bless all our efforts so that we would be able to help many poor children and their families.
This trip truly inspired and encouraged me to push through with the work of ANCOP in India. The Lord has allowed me to see the condition of these children, and like Jesus in the feeding of the 5,000, my heart was moved with pity, and He has given me something to truly ponder about.
Let us then work harder and do our very best. More than the material benefits, we are being animated to bring them to a closer experience of God’s transforming love. Let us all continue to support the work of ANCOP. As we do this work, we are being blessed by the Lord. The harvest is rich, but the laborers are few. We need every help we can get. As God has chosen you, may the power of the Holy Spirit enable and equip each one of us to help in whatever way possible.