Catholic Mission’s Seminarian Appeal addresses drugs, conflict in Myanmar
- 31 January 2017
At just 26 years of age, Nicholas Nerius has had to deal with some pretty hard truths. None, perhaps, were more shocking than discovering that his brother had fallen victim to drug addiction, a crisis that is reaching “epidemic” levels according to some community leaders.
In 2017, Catholic Mission’s Seminarian Appeal focuses on the issues of drugs and conflict in Myanmar and the work of young church leaders like Nicholas to educate children in a bid to create a brighter future.
The appeal, which hits homes across Australia this week, tells the story of Nicholas’ work with young people as a fourth-year seminarian in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, following a difficult childhood in which he was effectively orphaned.
Having only met each other a handful of times since, Nicholas was shocked to learn, at age 16, that his older brother Martino had fallen victim to drug addiction, an epidemic sweeping the country.
In the years since, the 26-year-old has tried desperately to help his brother free himself from the grips of drug addiction. ‘I urged him to get off the drugs and he promised he would, but later I found out he was still abusing them,’ Nicholas recalls.
Knowing he can do little to change his brother’s mind, Nicholas is focusing on having a positive impact on the children he teaches in his catechism classes at a nearby parish. As he prepares them for their first Communion, Nicholas imparts Christian values and shares the love and joy of the Gospel.
Through quality education, which is sadly lacking in post-war Myanmar, seminarians like Nicholas can guide young people towards wholesome and fulfilling lives, away from the dangers of drug dependency.
It is just one of a host of initiatives St Joseph’s Major Seminary provides for the local community through its dedicated seminarians. Catholic Mission’s Seminarian Appeal raises funds to uphold these crucial programs and ensure young aspiring priests can live and learn in adequate conditions.
‘The Seminarian Appeal is a very important part of the work of Catholic Mission as the Australian arm of the Pontifical Mission Societies,’ said Catholic Mission National Director Father Brian Lucas.
‘In many developing countries, such as Myanmar, priests are among the most trusted community leaders, so they have the power and indeed the responsibility of bringing about positive change where that is needed.’
To find out more about what Nicholas and young church leaders around the world are doing to help pave the way for a brighter future, or to support this work, please visit catholicmission.org.au/myanmar.