We are Joe and Mary Benecasa. We have four grown children living in the United States (and one granddaughter!). We are establishing an International, English-speaking church in the Napoli area. The Region of Campania, which encompasses Napoli and the surrounding area, has a population of 5.8 million people. A good percentage of those people are foreign-born English speakers. Yet, there are currently only two English speaking churches in the Region. Many Internationals, who do not have cars, travel for hours each way by bus or train to get to church. Many are unwilling to do that. And many more do not yet know Jesus.
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We are here to reach three different groups of people: The Internationals that live and work here from all over the world; refugees that have come mainly from North Africa and the Middle East; and U.S. servicemen and servicewomen stationed at one of the three military bases in the area. There are English-speakers from Africa, Asia, all over Europe, and even from North and South America living in Italy now. Our church has been established to reach English-speakers with the Gospel.
Christianity once thrived in Italy, but it soon became a formalized state religion. Today the majority of Italians are Roman Catholic by culture, but many distrust the Church. Some studies suggest as few as 3% faithfully practise Catholicism. The north is mostly secular, and the south has a mix of Catholic faith with folk superstitions. Those who do pray will more often pray to a saint than to Jesus. Satanism grows in some areas, and Turin acts as a global centre for its followers. Italians will more likely explore a New Age or pagan practice than explore the Bible. Ask God to remove the many barriers that keep people from understanding the gospel.