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DECEMBER 16 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Journal urges nuns to take Pill to reduce risk of cancer
BY STAFF REPORTER
NUNS should take contraceptives to protect themselves against cancers linked to childlessness, a study in a British medical journal has claimed. Writing in the Lancet Dr Kara Britt and Professor Roger Short said that oral contraceptives help to prevent the onset of cancer of the breast, ovaries and uterus in women who have never had children.
“Catholic nuns are committed to leading a celibate, spiritual life in a monastery or convent,” they said in the article entitled “The Plight of Nuns: Hazards of Nulliparity.”
“In 1713, Italian physician Bernardino Ramazzini noted that nuns had an extremely high incidence of that ‘accursed pest’, breast cancer,” the researchers wrote, adding that research among more than 30,000 nuns in the US found a similar problem.
They said: “Today, the world’s 94,790 nuns still pay a terrible price for their chastity because they have a greatly increased risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers: the hazards of their nulliparity.”
They point out in the article that although Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae prohibited couples from using contraception to regulate their fertility, it was silent on the use of the Pill for health benefits.
“Although Humanae Vitae never mentions nuns, they should be free to use the contraceptive pill to protect against the hazards of nulliparity since the document states that ‘the Church in no way regards as unlawful therapeutic means considered necessary to cure organic diseases, even though they also have a contraceptive effect,’” said the researchers from Australia’s Monash and Melbourne universities.
“If the Catholic Church could make the contraceptive pill freely available to all nuns, it would reduce the risk of those accursed pests, cancer of the ovary and uterus, and give nuns’ plight the recognition it deserves,” they said in the article.
Dr Britt and Prof Short based their argument on research suggesting that women who have children at a young age and who also breastfeed them are less likely to develop the three cancers in later life.
The increased number of menstrual cycles in childless women is linked to an increased risk in developing cancer, they said.
Their arguments were received with scepticism, however, by David
Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, a Catholic institute.
“The claim that unmarried women without children, including nuns, ‘should go on the Pill’ is one that should be viewed with caution,” he said.
“It is the patient who takes the medicine and who may benefit but may also suffer from it.
“We should remember that the medical profession has a history of creating problems by unnecessary over-prescribing of drugs,” he added. “Nevertheless, if the Pill would be beneficial for a particular woman’s health, then it could be moral to use it.
“The contraceptive effect would be a side effect,” he continued. “If it was not being used as a means of contraception, then it would not be wrong for that reason.”
Sister Janet Fearns, Franciscan Missionary of the Divine Motherhood, who has served as a midwife in Zambia, said that the claims were also being taken with a “pinch of salt” by members of her community.
She said that nuns in her convent discussed the report over the weekend “with a great degree of cynicism”.
“It sounds a good story – nuns put on the contraceptive pill – but what happens within a doctor’s surgery is an entirely different matter,” she said.
“The contraceptive industry is going to say ‘of course it [contraception] is all right – the nuns are using it,’ but we think it is completely wrong,” she added.
This is not the first time that the Lancet has urged the Catholic Church to support the use of contraceptives.
In 2009 the journal published strong criticism of the Pope’s remarks reiterating the Church’s position on condom use on the plane to Africa.
The Pope said at the time that HIV/Aids was “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem”.
But the Lancet intervened, arguing that the Pope had “publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue”.
“Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear,” the journal stated, and it urged the Vatican to issue a retraction.
Priests surround the coffin of Bishop John Jukes at his funeral Mass at St George’s Cathedral Mazur
Southwark bishop is mourned
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
A Funeral Mass for Bishop John Jukes was held on Tuesday December 6 in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark. Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark was the principal celebrant and concelebrants included Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.
Bishop Jukes died on November 22 aged 88 in his 59th year of priesthood. He had served as a bishop for 31 years.
Bishop Howard Tripp gave the homily at the funeral Mass, saying:
“We see in the life of Bishop John faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.”
He said that in recent years the death of a Franciscan priest Fr Basil and his sister Josephine had “greatly affected Bishop John” and caused him “to meditate, not upon the mystery of death, but upon the mystery of Heaven. His reflections based in faith have been accompanied by hope. He has been looking forward to the life that is to come for us all and has said on a number of occasions that he had many questions to put to God the Father.
He concluded by saying: “I have spoken of the faith that believes in heaven and of the hope that waits for heaven. But the essence of the Beatific Vision for us will be to know fully and openly that we are loved by God who is Love... It is surely because the love of God is in the souls of those who are in Heaven that they enjoy the light, peace and happiness of the Beatific Vision, seeing God as St Paul says ‘face to face’. May our prayers and Masses aid Bishop John in his rapid passage through the waters of purgatory that, made new, he may stand before the throne of the God who loved him, and out of whose love he loved all of us.” The bishop said: “Farewell, John, but not for ever, dear brother.”
Pope greets British pro-lifers
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
POPE BENEDICT XVI has told British pro-life leaders in Rome that the first of all rights is the right to life.
After his Sunday Angelus address he said: “Dear friends, I am very happy to welcome today representatives of pro-life organisations from many European countries, on the occasion of the presentation of the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Prize for Life, awarded this year to the memory of Chiara Lubich.
“On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights we remember that the first of all rights is the right to life. I wish you every blessing in your work.”
The European delegates were in Rome for a prize-giving ceremony which took place in the Campidoglio. and was presented to Maria Voce, head of the Focolare Movement, by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Among those present as guests of honour were Lord Nicholas Windsor, director of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute and trustee of the Right to Life Charitable Trust,
Josephine Quintavalle of the ProLife Alliance, Andrew Marsh of Christian Concern, Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life in Northern Ireland, Tim Jackson of Youth Defence Dublin and journalist David Kerr.
More than 15 European countries were represented with delegates from countries as far apart as Portugal and Ukraine.
Josephine Quintavalle of the ProLife Alliance said: “To receive such a wonderful endorsement from the Holy Father was a perfect conclusion to a very dynamic weekend.”
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Tuesday December 20th, 7pm CHRISTMAS MASS TIMES
Christmas Eve Saturday December 24th
6pm Children’s Mass
(11pm Doors open)
11.30pm Carols 12 Midnight Mass Christmas Day Sunday December 25th 8am, 9.30am (Family Mass)
11am Sung Latin 12.30pm, 4:15pm, 6:15pm (with Soul Choir) Monday December 26th:
Priest to spend Christmas in jail over war protest Equalities chief: legal challenge is nonsense on stilts
BY ED WEST
A CATHOLIC priest is to spend Christmas in jail after protesting against the war in Afghanistan.
Fr Martin Newell of the London Catholic Worker community was sentenced to 24 days imprisonment last week at Highbury Magistrates Court, meaning that he will be released in the first week of January.
Fr Newell was brought before the court after refusing to pay a £920 fine imposed on him after he cut his way into Northwood Headquarters in December 2008. The action was timed for the Feast of the Holy Innocents in protest at the war in Afghanistan.
Fr Martin Newell is a member of London Catholic Worker a pacifist organisation brought into being in 2000, with particular emphasis on resisting the “war on terror”.
From the dock Fr Newell said: “I work with refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan at the Catholic Worker. I am opposed to the wars we have been waging on these countries. I have non-violently resisted these wars since they began. I’m refusing to pay this fine as a form of further non-cooperation with these wars.”
Northwood Headquarters is the command centre for British forces deployed overseas. The base has been the location of a number of nonviolent direct actions by the pacifist Catholic Worker community over the past decade.
Fr Newell, 41, along with 62-year-old Susan Clarkson, was arrested in 2008 for breaking into Northwood, the home of the command and control functions of the British armed forces and Nato. The two were arrested praying inside the base, while other members of the Catholic Worker communities held a vigil outside, reading the names of British and Afghan war dead. Both had worked with Iraqi and Afghan refugees. AMass was celebrated outside the base to commemorate the massacre of the children by King Herod, with the protestors stating that: “On December 28 the Catholic Church commemorates the murder of the children by King Herod in his search to destroy the baby Jesus who Herod believed threatened his empire.
“We repent of our complicity in this imperial warmaking of our Government and pray to be people committed to non-violent ways of solving conflict. We invite all whom we meet today to reflect on this power of non-violence.
“By coming here today we are trying to put into practice the words of Jesus whom we follow: ‘Love your enemies and do good for those who persecute you’,” they said.
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE HEAD of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has described a legal challenge to prayer at council meetings as “nonsense on stilts”.
Trevor Phillips, who leads the commission, said he “dropped his coffee” when he heard that the National Secular Society (NSS) was taking legal action against a council in Devon because it begins its meetings with a prayer.
The National Secular Society took Bideford town council to the High Court last week because former councillor Clive Bone claims he felt “disadvantaged and embarrassed” when Christian prayers were said at the start of meetings.
NSS lawyers argue that the tradition of saying prayers before meetings were a breach of Articles 9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect the individual’s right to freedom of conscience and protection against discrimination, respectively.
David Wolfe QC, who represented the NSS, argued that the prayers posed a problem because they were part of the council’s formal agenda. He told Mr Justice Ouseley that holding the prayers was “an unlawful practice”.
But James Dingeman’s QC, who previously acted as senior counsel to the 2003 Hutton inquiry, argued that councillors were not forced to participate in prayers.
He argued that the NSS was a campaigning organisation with a clear aim to ensure that the state did not “engage in religious activities”.
Mr Phillips also criticised the general misuse of the Human Rights Act.
He said: “Almost every morning I am confronted with examples of how the Human Rights Act is being used which any reasonable person would describe as thoroughly bonkers.
“Prison service vans that travel 90 miles to take a prisoner 90 yards; paedophiles freed to leer at children in the very parks where they have committed horrific crimes.”
Mr Phillips argued that human rights laws were not “the exclusive property of minorities”.
Judgment on the NSS’s case has been reserved but commentators have suggested that it could be a landmark ruling if the judge rules in favour of the NSS.
James Dingemans QC said that if the NSS succeeded, it would have far-reaching consequences. He said: “The Coronation Oath would need to be abolished, the council’s involvement in services of remembrance would be prevented and chaplains would not be able to serve in HM Armed Forces.” Editorial Comment: Page 13
NEWSBULLETIN David Cameron to consider cuts to faith school buses THE PRIME MINISTER has promised to look “very carefully” into transport cutbacks for children travelling to faith schools.
During Prime Minister’s Questions he made clear his intention to discuss with the Education SecretaryMichael Gove his concerns over a number of local authorities cutting back on transport services for children travelling to faith schools.
David Cameron reiterated his commitment to schools of a religious character and stated that he would “see what we can do to enhance not only choice, but the faithbased education that many of our constituents choose”.
Catholic MP Jim Dobbin inititiated the comments.
Pro-lifers criticise abortion study PRO-LIFE groups have criticised research claiming that abortion does not harm the mental health of women.
The research, commissioned by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and funded by the Department of Health, concluded: “The best current evidence suggests that it makes no difference to a woman’s mental health whether she chooses to have an abortion or to continue with the pregnancy.” The research assessed 44 studies from 1990 to 2011 that examined hundreds of thousands of women.
Researchers found that an unwanted pregnancy does involve a heightened risk of mental health problems, but concluded that the rates were no different whether they had an abortion or give birth.
Anthony Ozimic, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said the authors had ignored key studies and said evidence showed that abortion involved an increased risk of depression and post-traumatic stress.
Cafod criticises Durban deal CAFOD analyst Dr Sarah Wykes has condemned the climate change agreement in Durban last week.
She said a “compromise deal” had seen the greater good subsumed by “ferocious politicking”, adding: “It is significant that Durban has agreed steps towards a legal treaty that will bind all countries on emissions reduction, but... the lack of clarity is an insult to the urgency of this crisis.”
Church leaders lobby over cuts CARDINAL Seán Brady joined his Irish Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian counterparts in travelling to London to express “grave concern” over the impact of welfare cuts in Northern Ireland.
Cardinal Brady, who talked to MPs and peers during the visit, said: “We need investment for peace, stability and growth, not measures that leave tens of thousands of our young people without hope.”
Upper House debates persecution THE HOUSE of Lords debated the persecution of Christians for nearly five hours last week. Catholic peer Lord Patten said that Christians in some parts of the Middle East may face “ethnic cleansing”.
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Cardinal: civil partnerships not in society’s best interests
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
SCOTLAND’S most senior Church leader has reiterated his opposition to the introduction of civil partnerships, which were legalised across Britain in 2004.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien said this week that the introduction of civil partnerships was “not in the best interests of our society”.
His comments came after Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said that he recognised the existence of civil partnerships, while opposing same-sex marriage.
Cardinal O’Brien said that the 2004 civil partnerships legislation in Scotland was “not in the best interests of our society.”
He said: “The empirical evidence is clear, same-sex relationships are demonstrably harmful to the medical, emotional and spiritual well being of those involved.
“No compassionate society should ever enact legislation to facilitate or promote such relationships. We have failed those who struggle with same-sex attraction and wider society by our actions.”
Cardinal O’Brien said that the Scottish bishops endorsed the 2003 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document (CDF) which
Be silent in church, says Bishop of Aberdeen
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen has written to his flock urging them to observe silence during Mass. Writing in a pastoral letter the bishop said: “There is a time and place for speaking and a time and place for silence. In the church itself, so far as possible, silence should prevail. It should be the norm before and after Mass, and at other times as well. When there is a real need to say something, let it be done as quietly as can be.
“At the very least, such silence is a courtesy towards those who want to pray. It signals our reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. It respects the longing of the Holy Spirit to prepare us to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries.”
In his letter the Archbishop said that in order to build a real relationship with God we need silence.
He said: “For us God has the first word, and our silence opens our hearts to hear him. Only then will our own words really be words, echoes of God’s, and not just more litter on the rubbish dump of noise.”
At a time when there are often hymns during Mass, Bishop Gilbert called for silence when the faithful receive Holy Communion.
He said: “When we receive Holy Communion, surely we want to listen to what the Lord God has to say, ‘the voice that speaks of peace?’ Being together in this way can make us one the Body of Christ quite as effectively as words.
“A wise elderly priest of the diocese said recently: ‘Two people talking stop 40 people praying’.”
The bishop made clear that parishioners should be interested in one another and retain their warmth with each other and build good relationships.
He said: “Create silence! I don’t want to be misunderstood. We all understand about babies. Nor are we meant to come and go from church as cold, isolated individuals, uninterested in one another. We want our parishes to be warm and welcoming places. We want to meet and greet and speak with one another.
“There are arrangements to be made, items of news to be shared, messages to be passed. A good word is above the best gift, says the Bible. But it is a question of where and when. Better in the porch than at the back of the church. Better after the Mass in a hall or a room.”
Bishop Gilbert was installed as Bishop of Aberdeen on the feast of the Assumption in August. For nearly 20 years he had served as abbot at the Benedictine Pluscarden Abbey.
said that Catholics should oppose civil unions.
He said: “In 2003, the Scottish bishops welcomed the document from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the CDF on same-sex unions and endorsed it. The president of our doctrine and unity commission, Archbishop Mario Conti, said: ‘The only privileged legal union in society is the family, attempts to give equivalent rights and legal recognition to other unions would be subversive of the right order – it is not for the law to reconstruct humanity.’ This remains the position of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.”
Archbishop Nichols’s position on civil partnerships first sparked discussion following remarks made after the bishops’ conference plenary meeting in November.
Speaking at a press conference, Archbishop Nichols said: “We would want to emphasise that civil partnerships actually provide a structure in which people of the same sex who want a lifelong relationship [and] a lifelong partnership can find their place and protection and legal provision... the Church holds great store by the value of commitment in relationships and undertakings that people give.”
Archbishop Nichols was asked to clarify his position on civil partnerships when he delivered the Thomas More Institute lecture last week. He urged people to listen for themselves to his original comments online “rather than what people construe out of things that I say”.
Archbishop Nichols explained: “What I have done is recognise the existence of legal arrangements for same-sex partners who wish to avail themselves of protection to do with rights and property, inheritance and access to each other.”
He added: “You should, I think, pay attention to the fact that when that legislation was put in place, to which we objected, there was a very, very clear undertaking given by the Government that this should not be confused with marriage.
“The actual scope of the samesex union regulation is not the same as marriage because when it comes to the same-sex partnerships there is absolutely no reference to the sexual relationship or sexual activity which is obviously essential to marriage, so there is a profound difference in law in this country at present.”
As The Catholic Herald went to press, the House of Lords was due to debate lifting the ban on civil unions taking place on religious premises.
The Government has announced that there will be a 12-week consultation in March on the legalisation of gay marriage. The bishops’ conference of England and Wales will announce the details of their submission nearer the time but they are expected to argue that the introduction of civil partnerships legislation makes gay marriage laws unnecessary.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Keith O’Brien has been mobilising opponents of gay marriage in Scotland. The Scotland for Marriage campaign was launched on the feast of St Andrew, with over 28,000 postcards opposing gay marriage handed in to the Scottish government, 4,000 of which are signed by Muslims.
Bishop Gilbert says silence is necessary to build a relationship with God Photo: Paul McSherry
Activists claim euthanasia has led to better care BY SIMON CALDWELL
EUTHANASIA campaigners this week launched a fresh push to persuade Parliament to change the law on “assisted dying” by claiming that the hospice movement in the Netherlands and Belgium has flourished since the countries legalised the practice.
A briefing for politicians sent out by Dignity in Dying – formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society – claimed that Britain had nothing to fear from following Holland, Belgium and the US state of Oregon in permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide.
But pro-life activists criticised the claims as verging on “farce” because they come just a week after the Dutch government admitted that it was considering mobile euthanasia units to kill people in their own homes.
In its briefing Dignity in Dying sought to assure MPs and peers that “assistance to die does not replace palliative care, rather it complements it”.
“A global study ranked the Netherlands as seventh in terms of quality of death and in a European study it ranked fourth in terms of the development of palliative services,” the briefing said.
“The number of hospice facilities has dramatically increased since assistance to die legislation passed.”
But Phyllis Bowman, the chief executive of Right to Life, disputed the claims, saying that the Dutch hospice system has been “an international disgrace for many years”.
“In the 1990s the late Dame Cecily Saunders – founder of the hospice movement worldwide – exposed the fact that the widespread use of euthanasia in Holland had caused the collapse of hospices,” she said.
“Even more to the point is the fact that in 2010 Dr Els Borst, architect of the euthanasia law in Holland, admitted publicly that it had led to a decline in the quality of care for terminally ill patients.
“In the book Redeemer Under God by Dr Anne-Marie The, Dr Borst, former health minister and deputy prime minister who steered the euthanasia law through the Dutch parliament, admitted that ‘more should have been done legally to protect people who wanted to die naturally’.”
She added: “MPs should challenge Dignity in Dying to quote the number of hospice beds available in Holland for the terminally sick and dying.”
Lord Alton of Liverpool said that about a quarter of an estimated 4,000 euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands each year were committed without the patient’s consent.
“Not content with this, the Dutch say that 80 per cent of people with dementia or mental illnesses are being ‘missed’ by the country’s euthanasia laws,” he said.
“They say that the deathon-wheels mobile units are necessary because some GPs have refused to administer lethal drugs to their patients.”
He said that in Britain the argument has increasingly been manipulated by “this same warped view” of human worth and dignity.
Number of diocesan priests falls by over 200 BY ED WEST
THE NUMBER of parish priests declined last year with a drop of seven per cent in the number of diocesan clergy in England and Wales.
The number of diocesan priests fell from 3,616 to 3,368, according to the 2012 Catholic Directory, while 70 churches closed, and Mass attendance fell from 898,852 to 885, 169. The number of religious priests increased, however, from 1,029 to 1,115.
The larger declines were in the Diocese of Leeds, where the number of priests declined from 245 to 195, more than a 20 per cent drop, Westminster, which declined from 464 to 378, and Arundel and Brighton, which fell from 186 to 145.
Last month it was reported that some dioceses in the north of England could lose up to 40 per cent of their priests in the next decade, with Lancaster and Hexham and Newcastle being the worst affected.
But the National Office of Vocation has pointed out that long-term figures for the priesthood were “not disastrous” and simply reflected temporary demographic changes.
The National Office of Vocation’s Development coordinator Judith Eydmann said that, far from suggesting permanent decline: “when we look at the figures for diocesan priests we’re looking at the effects of changes in the 1960s, a number of factors such as the Second Vatican Council and the baby boom. Overall, the decrease in the number of priests is an adjustment from an anomaly in the mid 20th century.
“If you look at the ratio of priests per people there are more priests during the 1960s. The Church had a recruitment model – now there is a lot more discernment up front. We have fewer men leaving once they find a formation.”
She said that despite declining numbers of priests the number of vocations had doubled in 10 years, and “the number of ordinations in the 2000s is comparable with those in the 1960s and 1970s”.
She said: “The age at which men are being recruited is now higher, so they would have started between 18 and 21. Now if you start at 22 you’re considered young. We also have older clergy who have joined from the Anglican church.”
She added that the decline in priests in the north of England was down to “a trend in migration of people towards the south-east and London”.
Miss Eydmann said: “The number of ordinations during the 1990s and 2000s was the same as in the 1960s and 1970s. There are between 60 and 70 men starting training every year, more than double what it was 10 years ago. There are more ordinations than in the 50s and far more than in the 1930s. So it’s not terrible.”
YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFT
COULD SAVE A CHILD’S LIFE
Tens of thousands of children die each day of hunger and disease. Yet simple measures including a proper diet could reduce these tragic deaths by more than half. Countless infants are so illnourished that if they survive they are disabled or blind for life. Street children throughout the world are driven by hunger and homelessness to crime: stealing, peddling drugs or prostitution, and millions of famished street children, totally abandoned, scavenge on rubbish tips for anything edible, or labour for long hours for a pittance.
“The thing that pleases Jesus when He beholds my soul is that I love my lit-
tleness and have a bllind hope in His mercy.”
- St Therese
HUNGER IS PAINFUL AND IT CANNOT WAIT For a helpless child, prolonged hunger is a devastating, bewildering, intensely painful experience. And if food comes too late he cannot absorb it and becomes too weak to cry. His body swells and he dies - slowly and painfully. Each minute about 30 children die of malnutrition. Could you prevent the death of one child? Shocking as the figures for child deaths are, they would be even worse were it not for the generosity of people like yourself. Your Christmas gift will assuredly help a missionary to relieve a child’s suffering. It could save a life.
A CHRISTMAS NOVENA of
£20 would keep a child alive for month, or £240 for a whole year. PLEASE WILL YOU HELP THE LITTLE WAY TO
FEED AND SAVE THE LIFE OF
for YOUR INTENTIONS is being offered from 16 - 24 December as a mark of gratitude for your kindness
A SUFFERING CHILD.
Crossed POs and cheques should be sent and made payable to: THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION, CH/12/16 119 Cedars Rd, Clapham Common, London SW4 0PR (Registered Charity No. 235703) Tel. 020-7622 0466 I enclose £ ...............to be allocated for: £........ FOOD FOR A HUNGRY CHILD £....... WELLS AND WATER £........ MASS STIPENDS (please state no. ) £........ LITTLE WAY ADMIN. EXPENSES
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Name (Rev. Mr. Mrs. Miss) (Block letters please) Address and support throughout the year. WELLS NEEDED Missionaries constantly appeal to The Little Way for funds to sink wells in order to provide clean water, the lack of which causes much illness and many medical needs. The sum of £1,500 would enable a missionary to supply a whole village with water for drinking, washing and irrigation.