The diocese of Nueve de Julio, around 160 miles (260 km) from the capital Buenos Aires, has 35 parishes, with a total population of almost 350,000 Catholics. The parishes vary widely in size, from smaller parishes with just around 1000 Catholics to huge parishes with over 45,000 parishioners. Given the shortage of priests, not every parish has its own priest, and consequently in many places it can be difficult to minister to the Catholic faithful.
A few years ago, in order to combat this problem, a vocations apostolate was established within the diocese in order to reach out to young men who might feel called to devote their lives as priests to the service of God and their fellow men. Retreat days and other events were organised in order to help and accompany young Catholics on their path of faith. This aspect is all the more important, given the fact that there is no religious instruction in the state schools.
The initiative is now bearing fruit, and at the present time there are 11 young men from the diocese training for the priesthood. They represent a great source of joy and hope for the diocese. But at the same time the cost of their upkeep and training is a major headache for the diocese, above all at a time of economic crisis that has only been intensified by the coronavirus pandemic.
ACN is proposing to contribute 4000 Euros towards the cost of training these 11 seminarians in the diocese.