All of those are accurate depictions because dehydration, disease and food insecurity are among the most immediate dangers facing families lacking clean water — but there are additional issues you may not have considered.
For example, Africa’s water scarcity is also creating a spiritual void for the many men, women and children who are struggling to secure safe water each day.
In countries such as Kenya, families are fighting for their faith as they wage this battle against water scarcity. By working together as the Church, we can quench their thirst with clean water and strengthen the faith of our fellow Catholics, restoring their hope in Christ.
When a community lacks access to clean water, families often spend the majority of their time seeking something they can drink, cook with, and bathe in — even if it comes from a contaminated source. Water is typically the first thing on their minds in the morning. Women and children must wake early to reach distant bodies of water before the line of families grows too long. Sometimes, during the dry season, they must even take the time to dig deep holes in dry riverbeds and wait for muddy water to seep up from the ground.
This exhausting chore can take hours — and a family will likely need to repeat the process at least once or twice more to meet their needs for the day. Children arrive late to school or miss class altogether, and participating in parish activities is often out of the question. Many mothers express their desire to attend Mass, pray with their families, and send their children to Sunday school, but the all-consuming quest for water leaves little time for spiritual formation.
Consider the hardships faced by Pauline Salo. She lives in a small community within the Diocese of Machakos, Kenya. Pauline is a hardworking subsistence farmer and a Catholic mother of three, but water scarcity often prevents her from doing the things she would love to do. With easy access to abundant water, she would be able to produce a better harvest to feed her family, prepare her children for school on time, and worship God in the way she has always wanted.
“I’m a Catholic, and in our mission, we usually have morning Mass, which starts at 7 a.m.,” Pauline shared. “I’m not able to attend because when I wake up early in the morning, I cannot get even the time for going to church. Therefore, it’s our cry — if something can be done — to get water. [Then] at least other women like myself can have time to go to church and worship in the morning.”
As Catholics, we are called to share our faith by engaging in the corporal works of mercy. When we work with partners like Fr. Fabian to provide clean water in poor communities, we are clearly fulfilling Christ’s commission to give drink to the thirsty, as iterated in Matthew 25:35. But because water scarcity impacts almost every category of life, we believe that providing water relief allows us to engage in other works of mercy as well.
By providing safe water and expressing our faith through intentional works of mercy, we can bolster the faith of our neediest brothers and sisters, offering integral support to meet their deepest material and spiritual needs!
Psalm 42:1 reads, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”
In communities that lack clean water, many of our Catholic brothers and sisters are longing for an opportunity to deepen their faith. The search for water has dominated their time for too long, stealing precious opportunities for families to worship with other believers.
There are also those who do not yet know the love of Christ — but they thirst for clean water and the touch of God’s grace just the same. About 20% of Kenya’s population identifies as Catholic, and the Church wants to reach many more families with the life-transforming message of the Gospel. But how are these men, women and children to receive Christ as their Living Water when they cannot even find clean water to drink each day?
By standing with ministries like Fr. Fabian’s, we can eliminate the burden of water scarcity and strengthen Catholic leaders in poor Kenyan communities. We can fortify the faith of our fellow Catholics and reach many thousands of people with a tangible reminder of God’s love. By sharing the corporal works of mercy through the gift of clean water, we can build our own faith through obedience to Christ and show suffering families that the Lord cares about their needs.
Please — stand with Cross Catholic Outreach to quench thirst and encourage hearts toward Christ. Your donation today will fill cups with clean water and create a priceless opportunity for faith to arise!
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.