Aid to the Church in Need Canada Thanks its Benefactors
Montreal, Wednesday, March 3, 2021 – For the first time in its history, the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need raised just over three million dollars. “2020 has been unique, challenging and historic. I am very moved and grateful to see the generosity of benefactors towards the poor and persecuted Church,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, national director of this office for over twenty years.
“Last March, at the beginning of the pandemic, I must admit that I was prepared for the worst. Not only did our benefactors respond to the numerous calls from our partners, but they did so in such a generous manner that we reached this historic milestone, in a historic year, when the needs were even greater than usual!” rejoices Ms. Lalonde.
The main projects that were supported by Canadian benefactors in 2020 are
- Construction of a church in the Christian Town district of the city of Siālkot in Pakistan.
- Support for the studies of 83 seminarians at Holy Spirit Major Seminary for the 2019-2020 academic year. Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Milk for the children of Homs in Syria (A Drop Milk project, photo).
- Training of 500 couples on the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” in June 2020. Guinea-Conakry.
- Solar energy system to help reopen the Church of St. Theresa in Nganza, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Teamwork for Victims of the Pandemic
As for other organizations, the implementation of telework has been one of the main challenges for the ACN Canada team. “But by the end of March, our teleworking office was fully functional and we were ready to share the challenges of the Church working to assuage the victims of the pandemic. Our partners in India, Ukraine, Lebanon and Nigeria, among others, were able to count on us very quickly.”
In India, for example, the government-ordered lockdown took everyone by surprise. Millions of migrant workers had to rush back to their regions, with the Narendra Modi government giving them only a few hours to confine themselves. “On March 24th, the announcement was made at 10:30 a.m., in a speech to the nation, and by midnight, people had to follow the lockdown rules,” said Lalonde. A chaotic migration began and many of these workers had to walk hundreds, or even thousands, of kilometres to return to their home communities.
The Church has therefore been present and has remained close to these vulnerable people by giving them food and beverages directly on the roadside. Also, in the various dioceses of the country, Christian communities supported the most vulnerable who had lost their jobs. “For example, in the Diocese of Rourkela, the religious Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross prepared boxes of basic necessities for 34 families in their town, in addition to making masks. It is to support this poor and servant Church that ACN is present,” explained Marie-Claude Lalonde.
In 2020, the Catholic Church gave itself body and soul throughout the world to support the most vulnerable people affected by the pandemic. “2021 promises to be another difficult year for our partners – but there is hope and we will support them up to the level of generosity of our faithful benefactors. I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” she concluded.
For more information about ACN’s projects, partners, and the various reports the organization produces each year – particularly those related to religious persecution and the persecution of Christians around the world, visit www.acn-canada.org.
View the report Set Your Captives Free, released in November 2020.