Bishop Fidel León Cadavid Marín loves the people of his diocese. In his long and detailed request for aid he describes the character of the people in the diocese of Sonsón-Rionegro in northwest Colombia as ‘hospitable, kindly, enterprising, joyful, simple, spiritually very open and with deeply rooted moral principles’.

It sounds as though life should be pretty unproblematic here. But the bishop can also see deep shadows. Terror and violence have driven people off the land and into the cities. Here there is high unemployment, rising teenage pregnancies and growing drug abuse. Poverty and violence are spreading and have affected family life. And so it is here that he is tackling the problem – in the area of marriage and the family.

In fact Bishop Fidel sees By the light of Faith the family apostolate as absolutely central to his approach. He believes the light that will dispel the shadows can only come from the Faith. And so, in the 60 parishes of his diocese, he has 300 lay leaders, specially trained in the family apostolate, who explain the  beauty of God’s loving plan for marriage and the family.

And they are there for the long term. These parish-based family counsellors are there not only to teach the families and young people but above all to accompany them. His workforce is in place, and his programme likewise. All he needs is the funds to bring people together, prepare the teaching materials and implement the programme. Bishop Fidel is begging on behalf of his people, as he loves them. ACN is helping.

This article can be found in Mirror 0615.