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Confronted with unemployment, many fathers and heads of households have left Armenia for employment opportunities in Russia. Some never return. This socioeconomic problem has created another impoverished class, orphans.

In 1994, Sisters Madeleine, Rebecca, and I began a summer camp program for these orphans. Some 640 children have benefited from our three-week camps during the last three summers. Located on lovely grounds on a slope of Mount Aragats, the camp, thanks to several Western donors, has provided proper nutrition and an enriching educational experience for these children.

This year CNEWA enabled our sisters to enlarge the scope of our camp with a grant to include choir members and university students contemplating their call to become lay catechists. And to help us in our endeavor we invited biblical specialists, church historians, musicologists and professors of education from the Middle East, Italy and the U.S.

The shortage of priests and sisters has hindered the growth of the Armenian Catholic Church in its historic homeland. If we wish our people to remain faithful to the faith of their fathers, and not follow the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals and other sects that have inundated Armenia, we must prepare lay catechists. The harvest is vast and the laborers so very few.

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Sister Arousiag is Superior of Our Lady of Armenia convent in Gumri. Armineh Johannes also contributed to this article.

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Tags: Armenia Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception