Venezuela is a land of records, but also of contradictions. On the one hand, the state has the largest oil reserves in the world at 50 billion tonnes; on the other hand, Venezuela has the highest crime and inflation rates in the world. The mismanagement of the socialist regime under President Maduro has led the country to the brink of famine. Elderly people, children and the sick are dying due to a lack of simple medications or power outages. Venezuela survives from day to day, and this also applies to the Church. Our aid for Venezuela therefore consists first and foremost of survival assistance.
» It is precisely when faced with bitter need that faith gives people hope and optimism. «
The political crisis in Venezuela has also led the country into an economic crisis of historic proportions. With the exception of a small elite, all social classes are affected. Until 2015, we received few applications for aid from Venezuela; the Church was largely able to help itself. But for three years now, the once self-sufficient local Church has increasingly found itself in economic distress. Meanwhile, applications come from all dioceses, and the amount of promised aid totalled over 1 million euros in 2018.
Half of the funds are simply spent on helping priests and religious to survive, and are needed more urgently than ever in the crisis. In the political turmoil which affects the country, the Church is often the only institution that still calls for peaceful debate, despite all the confrontations.
In the face of crises of faith and the hopelessness that many people continue to feel as a result of the crisis, the Church needs to proclaim a message of love and hope all the more. Therefore, in addition to material support, about one-third of our budget for Venezuela flows into catechesis and pastoral initiatives. Further financial support is funnelled into aid for the purchase of vehicles and the renovation of church facilities.
More than 10,000 copies of the YOUCAT for Venezuela
ACN was able to bring more than 10,000 copies of the YOUCAT, the YOUCAT Prayer Book and the YOUCAT Confirmation Book to the country through various channels. Sisters and catechists personally distribute the literature in the parishes to those who participate in prayer and faith circles. Only a few years ago, the Church would have published scriptures and books for a religious initiative such as this itself. But even paper has become scarce in Venezuela, and books are no longer affordable because of rampant hyperinflation.