ACN Pilgrimage to Fatima
Praying together for peace in the world
The risk of “new powers and devastating wars” was underlined yesterday afternoon, September 13, by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the Major Penitentiary of the Holy See, during a press conference at the Cova da Iria, held to mark the beginning of the international pilgrimage to Fátima of the international Catholic pastoral and pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
The pilgrimage also made in honour of the 70th anniversary of the birth of ACN and 50 years since the charity’s consecration to Our Lady of Fatima. Cardinal Piacenza, who is also the International President of ACN, made a point of expressing just how much “Fátima and ACN have in common.”
The Cardinal noted how “Fatima is a light of supernatural charity that supports us whenever we fall,” while ACN was a “light of fraternal charity for those most in need.”
Among those who most need ACN’s help, it was important to place particular attention on the persecuted Christians, especially those living in the “biblical lands” and highlighting the need to preserve a Christian presence in the Middle East especially in Iraq and Syria, as a top priority for the charity at this time.
The close ties binding the charity to the Fatima message
Cardinal Piacenza described some aspects of the work already undertaken in the form of direct support for these Christian communities, and notably in the “reconstruction of homes and churches” which, he also emphasized, was an “ecumenical effort.”
Also present at the press conference were Philipp Ozores, the international general secretary of ACN, and Catarina Martins, the director of the Portuguese national office of ACN. Philipp Ozores underlined that the charity currently supports projects in an unprecedented 150 countries, also referring to the close ties binding the international charity and the message given by Our Lady to the shepherd children 100 years ago. “Fatima is key to understanding our existence,” he stated. Catarina Martins also spoke of the “importance” of this pilgrimage and of the “inspiration Our Lady has been for us throughout all these years.”
The Portuguese national director of ACN concluded by remembering “Bishop Antonio of Porto, who departed from us so suddenly this Monday.” The bishop, who “was a generous friend of ACN,” she added, “will always be remembered for his kindness, generosity and sympathy, especially for the poorest, neediest and the loneliest.” She concluded her remarks by promising that ACN would “continue every day to pray for peace in the world, just as Our Lady asked us to do in this place.”
Press Conference by Paolo Aido, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada