KALPETTA, India (CNS) — A parish in India’s Kerala state has instituted incentives to encourage families to have more children amid worries that the Catholic population in the area has begun to drop.
St. Vincent De Paul Forane Church now offers fixed-rate deposits of 10,000 rupees (US$220), held in the name of the fifth child born to in a family. The plan, begun in mid-August, was executed with assistance from Sion Prolife Movement, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.
Father Jose Kocharackal, parish vicar, said that by Aug. 31, the church had issued deposits to two families in the parish, adding that part of the Sunday collection is set aside for funding the deposits.
Salu Mecheril, regional coordinator of Sion, said the campaign is gaining popularity, with a second parish preparing to adopt the same plan.
“We are working to spread the campaign in all the parishes of the diocese,” Mecheril said.
The plan to increase family size runs counter to a previous initiative by the federal government, which encouraged residents to make two children the norm for families.
Similar population concerns in Kerala were expressed in 2008, at which time church leaders also encouraged parents to have more children.