MEXICO: Youth in 24 Indigenous communities receive Bibles
1,000 Catholic Bibles distributed to 24 Chinantec Indigenous communities thanks to Koch Foundation funding secured by Salesian Missions.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 28, 2021) Salesian missionaries in Oaxaca, Mexico, have provided 1,000 Catholic Bibles to 24 Chinantec Indigenous communities thanks to Koch Foundation funding secured by Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. This project facilitates scriptural study and faith formation among the local population even when an ordained minister cannot be present.
While there were 1,000 direct beneficiaries of the project, more than 5,000 people were impacted within the households that received the Bibles. It is difficult for these local Indigenous populations to buy a Bible when other basic needs have to come first. Most of the direct beneficiaries were youth, ages 10-18, who attended one of the 24 church communities. After receiving the Bibles, the youth shared what they learned and studied with their families.
“The impact of this project will continue because Salesian missionaries living in the communities teach catechism to youth and encourage them to teach their family members,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesian missionaries also train local catechists to provide scriptural orientation to encourage families to come together to read the Bible.”
Thanks to this project, joy and hope were brought to many households. Many people walked far distances on precarious roads to receive them. Families have said that by having the Catholic Bible in their homes, they can feel the presence of God with them.
Close to 52 million people in Mexico lack access to education, health care, transportation and the most basic necessities such as food and shelter. Youth in the country face a higher rate of poverty at more than 53 percent, which accounts for 20 million children and adolescents, with 5 million of those living in extreme poverty.
Salesian missionaries in Mexico primarily direct their efforts toward the country’s at-risk youth, including girls and young mothers. Creating safe havens and improving educational opportunities are essential to deter youth from life on the streets where they are susceptible to drugs and gang violence.
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