28th July 2014
Report on the construction of student accommodation for an annual dry season catechumenate/literacy program in the new parish at Puissa, Kontagora Vicariate.
Greetings on behalf of the people of Divine Mercy Parish, Puissa. I am very happy to be able to write to you and let you know that the €3,000 which you in Killaloe so generously donated towards the above project has been used to construct 3 out of a total of 30 rooms for the newly established Literacy/Catechumenate here at Puissa.
Construction began immediately I returned from my leave last September with the buildings being roofed and ready for use by mid January when the 3 month course began. The Buildings are of cavity block on a concrete floor with a roof of galvanised sheeting. Once the course was over in April, work continued on the plastering etc.
This year being the first year of the course at Puissa, I was delighted with the attendance. We had a total of 540 Catechumens, 310 male and 230 female, between 10 and 1 years of age. They will attend the course for a minimum of 3 years before they will receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. This Catechumenate also acts as a Literacy Program where those who have not been to school (95%) learn basic arithmetic as well as reading and writing in conjunction with the deepening of their faith.
For the Kamberi people development goes hand in hand with their new religion. As they learn about Christ, they also acquire the skills that they will need to be able to participate in the rapidly changing environment in which they find themselves. The students who attend here come from over 90 communities scattered throughout an area larger than any 3 Diocese in Ireland. At the end of the course they return to their various homes and pass on their knowledge to their brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends, who did not have the opportunity to attend. In this way what was begun in Puissa with a few hundred may spread throughout the surrounding areas. By next year I hope to have over 600 in attendance.
As you can see from the photos conditions are primitive but people are happy and content.
On behalf of the hundreds who attended this year’s program and the many thousands who will attend in the years ahead, I wish to express our heartfelt joy and appreciation for your great help in the spread of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Be assured that the youth here remember in prayer each morning all those who have and are helping in this work.
Fr Dónall Ó Catháin S.M.A
Parish Priest Puissa