Madrid – “We want to make the Spaniards, especially children, aware that we live in a large family and we cannot be indifferent to the needs of others because we are far away”, said Fr. José María Calderón, National Director of the Pontifical Missionary Societies presenting the Missionary Childhood Day, which is celebrated in Spain on Sunday 17 January, with the motto “With Jesus in Nazareth, we are family!”. “The Church plays the role of mother, father and family for many children in the world”, explains Fr. Calderón in the note sent to Fides. He himself has been a direct witness of this reality in his missionary experiences: “We tell children that they are a value, that they are worthy of being loved”. This action is supported by the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood, which represents the annual support that the Holy Father offers to the action that missionaries carry out with childhood, adolescence and motherhood. Proof of this is the diocese of Yendi, in Ghana, which is the protagonist of the communication campaign for this Day. It is a rural and underdeveloped area in the south of the African country, where superstitious traditions are the order of the day. “When a child is born with a physical defect, they think that it is a child with an evil spirit, and they have to get rid of the children, but we say that this cannot be done”, says Bishop Vincent Sowa of Yendi. That is why the diocese supports the house of Nazareth, run by Sister Therese Stan. But the Church’s action is not limited only to these children, it also comes to the aid of the malnourished, street children, and those most in need, creating schools and hospitals to serve them.
“There are children who are very intelligent, but no one helps them”, said the Archbishop. This diocese is one of the 1,115 mission territories that each year receive the support of the Holy Father through Missionary Childhood. “We cannot do all this without the help of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The help we have received in recent years has been to support orphanages and promote childcare, and for this we thank everyone for their help”, concluded the Bishop. Sister Therese Stan welcomes more than 80 children from the area in the Yendi House of Nazareth, founded in 2009. These children have a wide variety of disabilities: malformations, blindness, Down syndrome, syphilis … “All these children have been accused of witchcraft and have been thrown out of their communities and their families, they have also received death threats”, explains Sister Stan. The house rescues these children and takes full responsibility for them, as happened to Sarah, a 4-year-old girl who was sentenced to death for not being able to speak and now she has learned to speak and is happy at the House of Nazareth. The list is endless. Sister Therese claims that she finds strength and meaning in what she does in faith, and even Muslims in the area recognize in her work the work of God.
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