Could you help us to deliver our Catholic “Youth Alive” AIDS prevention programme? When more and more patients came to Sister Miriam Duggan throughout the 1980s and subsequently died from AIDS, she decided to do something about it. She toured the schools of Uganda warning the children about the dangers of the epidemic. In 1993, she founded “Youth Alive”. Since then, the initiative has spread enormously through a network of different clubs. By now the Youth Alive movement is estimated to have reached over 3 million people in the past 15 years with its AIDS prevention campaigns. The movement today is present in more than 80 different countries; the majority of which are on the African continent. The Youth Alive leaders – mostly young adults themselves – make quite clear that sexual abstinence and faithful relationships are still the best way of avoiding infection with the HIV virus. To reach as many people as possible, they organise workshops in schools and parishes. “The goal of Youth Alive is to help children and young adults adopt a healthy and proactive lifestyle, free of HIV / AIDS and so have the chance to fulfil their dreams for the future” Sister Miriam has told Aid to the Church in Need.

Your legacy to Aid to the Church in Need will help ensure the ongoing fruitfulness of the “Youth Alive” programme and other similar Church programmes. Thanks to you, millions of people will be kept safe from HIV / AIDS and other medical and social problems which unfairly affect the poorest and most vulnerable.

Could you help us to provide suitable transport for priests and sisters around the world– vital in remote areas? In the diocese of Eunápolis in Brazil, the Daughters of Our Lady of Mount Calvary have to travel anything from 25 to 45 miles on extremely bad roads in order to minister to the Pataxò indians in eight different villages.

“There is a very friendly and loving relationship between us.” writes Sister Maria Elisabeth.

The sisters help with a range of different social and charitable activities, but also provide catechetical instruction for adults and children, as well as introducing them to the Rosary and liturgies. However, the Sisters’ old landrover, which had already clocked over 400,000 kilometres, was no longer up to the task and increasingly left them stranded in the middle of nowhere. It was an impossible situation, and so the sisters turned trustingly to Aid to the Church in Need to ask for help. Having taken the keys to their new all-terrain vehicle, the sisters wrote to us to express their heartfelt thanks, and promised to pray for all of those who helped them: “We pray to God to bless all the benefactors for this generous gift, which is so vital to our mission.”

Your legacy to Aid to the Church in Need will help ensure that, with rugged, reliable transport, Sisters, priests and other Religious around the world will be able to bring Christ’s love and charity to the faithful, even in the remotest of locations.

Could you help build a new church? In Andranomadio, a sprawling suburb of the port city of Toamasina, Madagascar, a new Catholic community has developed and a new church, dedicated to Pope John XXIII, is being built. People live in great poverty, but they have a deep religious sense, and at present many make a long journey on foot in order to attend Holy Mass in the central parish church, which is too small for their requirements. The footings of the new church have already been laid, and already there is a community of religious Sisters here, who are caring for the younger children. The region around Toamasina is regularly struck by powerful tropical cyclones, and in 1986 it was almost completely destroyed. It is therefore vital to build a strong and solid structure. Pope John XXIII once wrote,

“We are not here on earth to be custodians of a museum, but to tend a garden that is bursting with flourishing life and destined for a beautiful future.”

That is exactly what the Catholic Church in Madagascar is striving to do. As well as being a source of spiritual comfort, the Church is a hub of social and practical support to this impoverished community. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of parish priest Father Pierino and the Sisters, children and adults in Andranomadio will be able to look forward to a brighter future.

Your legacy to Aid to the Church in Need will ensure that some of the poorest faithful around the world will have a safe structure in which to celebrate mass and come together in friendship and mutual support as a Christian community.

This case study is associated with the charity Aid to the Church in Need.