Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

Dear readers, last December we invited you through our blog to participate in the creation of a Birthday booklet for a very special and beloved person:  Argentinean born Jorge Mario Bergoglio who graced the world on December 17, 1936.

On this same winter’s day in 2013, as we prepared for the coming of the infant Jesus, our new pontiff, now with the self-chosen name Pope Francis, celebrated 77 years of age. As promised, we gathered your wishes and prayers together and assembled them in a lovely booklet, sending it off with our own prayers and with great care to ACN International, our head office in Germany, where it was to be transferred to the Vatican.

Much to our surprise a few weeks later, our international Ecclesiastical Assistant Father Martin Barta had the opportunity to share a brief audience with his Holiness shortly after his birthday. The occasion was for the 50th Anniversary of the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration with the Orthodox Churches at the Pontifical Council for Unity where Aid to the Church in Need, takes part.  Father Barta who was so touched by your messages, decided to bring your booklet, your wishes and your prayers with him to present to the Holy Father in person, should he have the opportunity.

© Osservatore Romano
© Osservatore Romano

As you can see in this photograph, the Holy Father received your Love directly.  Father Barta, who some of you may recognize from the cover page of our regular newsletter ‘The Mirror’ wrote to us, and to you, saying:  “I had the opportunity to personally give the Holy Father the prayers and names of your benefactors from the campaign for his birthday.  His listened very attentively to my explanations and thanked me for it.”

Father Barta’s news of Pope Francis’ personal thanks for your prayers and wishes brought great joy to our hearts at ACN Canada, and so we wished to share the news with you, so that this same joy may brighten yours.  After all, isn’t that what joy is for?  Such as in the prayer of Saint Francis – “…For it is giving that we receive…”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your giving – your giving of prayers, your giving of love and your giving of funds for our poor and persecuted brothers and sisters in the Church around the world.

May God Bless you, and your open hearts.

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