Missionary Work of the Prague Infant Jesus
For more than forty years the discalced carmelites work in their missions in the Central African Republic, one of the poorest countries in the world.
The order of Discalced Carmelites has been engaged in missionary work for centuries. Missionary work of the Prague Infant Jesus has taken place in the Central African republic since 1971. It helps to provide the basic health, social and educational needs of local people.
The Central African republic is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. Its history has been negatively impacted by the slave trade, colonialism, and in the recent years the country has been afflicted by armed conflicts. The Discalced Carmelites work in five towns in the north-west of the country (Bengui, Baoro, Bouar, Yolé, Baozoum) in conditions of unimaginable poverty and almost non-existent infrastructure. Schools, hospitals, state administration, business, roads – they all only exist only to a very limited extent. The country lies near the equator and has a tropical climate that is not very favourable for Europeans.
Several dozens of people work in the Carmelite mission at the present – monastic brothers and sisters from Italy, India, France, and also lay co-workers and volunteers. The missionaries select and recruit new brothers from amongst the local people. They gradually entrust them with tasks and responsibility in order to transfer the mission to them one day in the future. Their goal is to make the locals independent of the mission in the future.
As well as their primary task of preaching the Gospel and Christian conversion, the missionaries also work in the fields of health care, education, and agriculture – they implement many projects focused on those areas. They run ambulances, care for malnourished children and AIDS patients. They take part in preventive programs, run kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. Once they established a hundred hectare oil palm plantation and also other utility crops. They support farmers and small holders and employ hundreds of people…
Around twenty volunteers from the Czech and Slovak republic have worked in the mission since 1995, including a one-year stay by Prague surgeon Marcel Drlík. His book, entitled Czech Doctor in the Heart of Africa (Portál, 2003), was positively reviewed in the Czech media. It has been published in five languages and re-published many times. Ludmila and Karol Bohm built a new school in the town of Bozoum in 2012. The dentist Věra Svobodová was among other volunteers. The most recent volunteer was Vojtěch Bílý, a twenty-year-old secondary school graduate who worked and taught in the town of Bozoum in school year 2013-2014 during a period of armed conflict.
Father Anastasion Roggero, rector of our church, has been looking after material provisions for 33 years. He visits the mission regularly.
The work of the missionaries in Central Africa is only possible with the support of many people who contribute financially according to their possibilities.
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