ACN BENEFACTORS

 

ACN Project of the Week – Success Story… in India!

08.08.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Asia, CONSTRUCTION, India

Success Story… in India!

Consecration of the village chapel, in West Vipparu

May 5 2018 was a day of great celebration for the Catholic faithful in West Vipparu, for it was on this day that their beautiful new chapel was finally consecrated after 16 long years of waiting. Up to then, all they had was a very small chapel with an asbestos roof, which threatened to collapse at any moment, and was also far too small for the steadily growing number of faithful.  The people had long dreamt of building a new church, but in their poverty, and despite the many great sacrifices they made, they simply could not raise the necessary funds. 

 

West Vipparu is one of many villages belonging to the parish of Tadepalligudem. In 11 of these villages, almost all the inhabitants have been baptized, while in others there are still many people awaiting baptism. As a result, the priest is kept very busy visiting the people in the villages. In West Vipparu the new chapel has truly become the heart of the community, and not only during times of Mass and catechetical teaching. As their parish priest tells us, “The faithful are quite certain that God is here, and so they also go to the chapel even when the priest cannot get there, and bring their cares to Jesus.”

 

The chapel is dedicated to the Infant Jesus of Prague who is greatly venerated by the Catholic faithful all over India. It is seen in the many large shrines honouring the Infant Jesus; in fact, they are some of the greatest shrines in the world where the Infant Jesus of Prague is venerated, this devotion can be seen even in the most remote corners of the country as increasingly churches and chapels are dedicated to him.

 

Our generous benefactors did not disappoint!

ACN was able to give $15,100 for the construction of a new chapel. All the building work was carried out by the Catholic faithful themselves, under the supervision of an expert builder, while the essential building materials were obtained thanks to the generosity of our benefactors.

 

“The dedication ceremony was an unforgettable day,” writes the parish priest, Father Dharma Raju Matta. The local Bishop Jaya Rao Polimera had also come especially from Eluru to consecrate the new chapel and remaining for a long time, close to his people and listening to their cares and concerns after the ceremony.

“We want to express our profound and sincere gratitude for the wonderful help you have given to our mission,” writes Father Raju Matta, and also giving us assurances that his faithful are praying the Rosary regularly for everyone who helped!

If you are inspired by this project and would like to support a similar one – please click to donate!

Project of the Week in Peru – Help for training in the Amazon region

02.08.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, FORMATION, Peru, SEMINARIANS

Success story in Peru

Help for the training of 19 seminarians in the Amazon region

PERU / YURIMAGUAS 17/00189
Training of 23 seminarians in the diocesan seminary Cristo Salvador, 2017. Photo: Begining course in philosophy and theology with Mgr. José Luis Astigarraga (Bishop emeritus of Yurimaguas – died on 20.01.2017).

 

 

The apostolic vicariate of Yurimaguas in the east of Peru is situated for the most part in the Amazon rainforest, in an area that is home to various different indigenous groups.

The 224,000 or so Catholics in this region live scattered over an area greater than many of the smaller European countries. There are just 25 priests to care for them, all of whom face long, difficult and dangerous journeys as part and parcel of their mission.

Consequently, one of the greatest needs of the vicariate is for more priests to help in the task of ministering to the Catholic faithful, bringing them the sacraments and caring for them pastorally.

And so the vicariate has established a vocations apostolate, which is already bearing fruit. There, 19 young men are currently preparing for ordination. Seven of them are still in their two preparatory years at the propaedeutic seminary of Yurimaguas, while the remaining 12 are already studying at the seminary in the diocese of Callao, near the capital, Lima.

PERU / YURIMAGUAS 
Training of 23 seminarians in the diocesan seminary Cristo Salvador, 2017. Photo: Admission ad ordines with Mgr. José Luis del Palacio.

In years gone by, missionaries braved all the adversities of the region and proclaimed the Good News of the Gospel here. But today, their numbers have dwindled and the new, home-grown vocations are coming from the Peruvian people in the parishes they once founded. Being born and brought up in the region, and along with being  ideally suited to working in these climatic conditions as it is their home, they are also linguistically and culturally more apt to working among their own indigenous peoples of the rainforest for they are more likely to be aware of their needs and how best to support them .

We are only too happy to support these 19 young men on their path to the priesthood and have promised $8,530 towards the cost of their training.

ACN News: Over 4.5 million dollars approved for 40 projects is Syria

23.07.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Maria Lozano, Syria

Aid to the Church in Need

Over 4.5 million dollars approved for 40 projects is Syria

 

The international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has approved a new package of aid measures involving over 40 pastoral and emergency aid projects for Syrian Christians of the various different rites and denominations. The charity hopes thereby in some way to ease the grave situation in which the people of the country continue to suffer, above all now due to the various economic sanctions such as the petroleum embargo. As Maronite Bishop Joseph Tobji of Aleppo pointed out on June 27 this year in an address to the European Parliament in Brussels, these sanctions “are killing the Syrian people in the same way that the weapons are.”

 

Maronite Archbishop of Aleppo, Msgr Joseph Tobji, in his bombed-out cathedral, situated at the very heart of the old city.

“Why do the children and sick people have to die for lack of medicines? Why do the unemployed, who have lost their jobs, have to die of hunger because of the embargo?” the bishop asked the assembled European deputies.

 “The aid has to help people rebuild and get back to living a decent life.”

 

Responding to this and other similar desperate appeals for support from the local Catholic and Orthodox communities in Syria, ACN will be allocating over 3 million dollars for the basic support and medical welfare of needy and displaced families in various different parts of the country, and especially in Aleppo and Homs.

 

Another of the grave problems affecting the country is immigration, which, according to Bishop Tobji, is “a dangerous wound, which continues to bleed.” Moreover, an obvious part of this wave of involuntary emigration was the Christian Syrians, of course, already a minority before but now were going to be “wiped out if the situation created by the war does not end soon,” he added. Already “only a third” were left of those who were there before. In the face of this great diaspora, the Maronite Bishop wondered who would be left to rebuild the country, given that Syria was now a country “with no productivity, no labour force, a society without life.” The Christians, he said had always been a “cultural bridge” between East and West and had played a primordial role as an element of peace within Syrian society. “If the Christians disappear, there will be many problems, both for their own country and for Europe, which is not so many miles away,” he predicted.

Helping the children rediscover their capacity for play!

For this reason, among others, another of the main objectives of ACN is the help for children and young people – the future of the country and the reason why so many Christian families are emigrating. That is why a quarter of all the new projects approved by ACN aim to help the young. On one hand, ACN has launched a number of different educational aid programs and scholarships, given that many families have lost their work in their homes and have no means of funding their children’s basic education or university studies. It is this lack of financial means that has forced many to seek a future outside the country.

One of the projects supported by ACN – ‘Let me live my childhood! Children born into a world of bombs are able to get a little break thanks to donations to ACN and the word done by the local Church.

 

Now, in the coming months some 1,215 school pupils and 437 university students in Homs and 105 university students in Damascus will benefit from this program. In addition, ACN has undertaken to support the schooling of the children of some 300 especially needy families in Damascus and also of many sick and orphaned children.

 

“A number of projects are aimed at helping children and young people traumatized by seven years of conflict and war.”

At the same time, a number of projects are aimed at helping children and young people traumatized by seven years of conflict and war. Prominent among these is the initiative “Let me Live My Childhood” in the city of Aleppo. Father Antoine Tahan, parish priest of the Armenian Catholic Church of the Holy Cross, who is in charge of this initiative, explains: “Thank to the support of ACN the child will come out, having been stripped of ‘adult clothes’ and take back some of the gifts of childhood, which are irreplaceable.” In addition to this ACN will be supporting a number of summer courses for young people, organised both by the Maronite Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church in Aleppo, the city that has probably suffered most during the war.

 

Faithful to its pastoral character ACN approved almost a million dollars for the repair or restoration of a number of churches and monasteries, including the Maronite cathedral and the Syro-Catholic cathedral, both of which are in Aleppo, as well the training of seminarians and the support of priests. For as Bishop Tobji emphasizes, “the Church is the first port of call for the people” and yet the Church would be unable to provide is help without the support of “benefactors, organizations and ecclesiastical foundations like ACN.” Our aid “has to be able to help people rebuild, find work and resume a life in dignity”. Hence, his desperate appeal to the West: “Do the right thing; help us to find peace.”

 

An aid mission supported by Aid to the Church in Need – thank you for continuing to support this little girl’s future!

ACN Project of the Week: Rebuilding chapels in Mozambique

12.07.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Africa, Construction, Mozambique, Project of the Week

Mozambique

Rebuilding two chapels destroyed by a cyclone

In January 2017, the coastal region of northern Mozambique was battered for five long days by a severe cyclone. The tropical storm brought heavy rainfall and devastated large swaths of the countryside in two coastal provinces of this country in southeast Africa – already one of the poorest in the world.

 

Thousands of homes were destroyed and countless people left homeless. Many of the properties of the Catholic Church were also severely damaged, especially in the mission parish of Netia-Natete in the diocese of Nacala covering an also very poor vast and predominantly rural area.  The parish, with fewer than 120 outstations with very modest little chapels inviting the faithful to gather for prayer and catechesis. More than half – some 66 – of these chapels, were left destroyed by the cyclone.

 

Now, Father Antonio Gasolina has turned to ACN for help!  His Catholic faithful in these villages are dismayed at having lost their familiar places in which to gather, worship God, and hear His Word proclaimed. God is first and foremost in their lives. Now they are hoping, above all in two of the remotest and most inaccessible villages of the region, to rebuild a small chapel where they can gather to pray.

 

They plan to begin work on these two chapels at least, themselves. The Catholic faithful here already live from hand to mouth, but have nonetheless made their own modest contributions to rebuilding and have promised to pay the carpenters who will

complete the roof.

This parish still needs our help to pay for the costly building materials. We have promised them  22,650 dollars. To give to a similar project, please click on donate and select ‘Project of the Week’.

 

 

 

*All photos – construction of chapels destroyed by the cyclone in January 2018, Parish of “Nossa Senhora da Assunção”, Netia-Natete

ACN Press Release: Aid to the Church in Need collects 181 million

04.07.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN International, ACN PRESS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Jürgen Liminski

World

Aid to the Church in Need collects 181 million

International Annual Report

Palm Sunday celebrations – hope returns to Iraq. Photographer: Iban de la Sota.

Over the past year, the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need was again able to maintain a high level of donations which has been documented in the organization’s 2017 Annual Report released following attestation by the auditing firm KPMG.

 

The report shows that the total sum of donations, legacies and other income was almost 181 million dollars (or $181,123,824 to be exact). The largest part of the donated funds (82.5%) was used to finance mission related expenses. The main share—84.0% or 123.52 million—served to fund 5,357 projects in 149 countries. Of the mission-related expenses, 16% served to raise awareness for the cause of the suffering church, media work and advocacy work with political institutions.

 

Another 7.0% of the funds was used for administrative services while 10.5% was used for fundraising, advertisements and communications reaching the 400,000 (approximately) benefactors supporting the organization. The pontifical charity now has national offices in 23 countries.

 

Christmas in a village Bahzani in Iraq, the first since 2014 when ISIS invaded.

Specific items included in the annual report: 1,212 construction projects, co-funded by donations which included chapels, churches, cathedrals and seminaries, many of them in regions devastated by natural disasters. A third of the funding in this area went to church-building projects. Every tenth priest in the world (a total of 40,383) received help in the form of Mass Offerings, particularly in Africa (15,440) and in Asia (10,748).

 

Aid was also approved for a larger number than ever before of 13,643 seminarians, a part of which was again granted in the form of Mass Offerings. This is equivalent to one every seminarian in nine around the world, most living in Africa. Subsistence aid was granted to 12,801 religious Sisters (mostly members of contemplative orders) as was funding for their training. Donations were also made for cars, motorcycles and bicycles as well as three boats, four trucks and three buses. Approximately 2,000 aid requests did not receive approval, as they did not meet the strict criteria for funding.

 

Protecting Christians in Situations of Suffering and Persecution

Last year, a large portion of the aid once again went to the Middle East. Second only to Africa, this region is the focus of many relief measures. Since 2011, the year of the “Arab Spring”, around 113 million dollars have been directed towards conflict areas in the Near and Middle East, more than 25 million in the past year alone.

Considerable damaged caused by the Islamic State in Baghdeda (Qaraqosh). (Photo: Jaco Klamer)

Measures taken with this funding ranged from emergency aid and pastoral expenses (e.g. the printing of Bibles) to church building projects. Thanks to this aid, thousands of Christians were able to return to their homes. One major project was—and still is—the rebuilding of Christian settlements on the Nineveh Plains in Iraq after their devastation by the “Islamic State”. With almost 13.58 million dollars, Iraq is at the very top of the list of countries that received aid from Aid to the Church in Need in 2017. India ranked second on the list of recipient countries with 6.86 million, followed in third place by Syria (8.4 million), in fourth by Ukraine (6.86 million), in fifth by Brazil (5.6 million) and in sixth by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (4.99 million).

 

 retour à la maison, grâce aux dons des bienfaiteurs de l'AED en 2017 ! Procession du Dimanche des rameaux 2018

A smile speaks volumes: happy to be back home thanks to donations from ACN benefactors in 2017. Here we see their Palm Sunday procession.

“In 2017, the regional focus of our aid projects was the Middle East as well as Africa. In all of our project work, the dialogue with the local church is particularly important. After all, the local bishops and religious know best where the need is greatest and which relief measures need to be taken. We believe that our job is primarily to support the church in those places where it does not have the material resources to carry out its pastoral activities or where Christians are suffering from suppression, persecution and violence,” Thomas Heine-Geldern, the executive president of the pontifical charity, explained.

Watch Rome Reports coverage of the launch of the report.

https://www.romereports.com/en/2018/07/04/aid-to-the-church-in-need-were-trying-to-rebuild-hearts-hardened-by-hate/

 


Source: Mario Bard, Information, Aid to the Church in Need Canada
Amanda Griffin, English Information, ext. 221
or toll free at 1-800-585-6333 [email protected]
acn-canada.org
*ACN’s articles are given freely for partial or full publication on condition that
©Aid to the Church in Need is mentioned as the source. If you would like to use an original photo, or for an interview with the National Director, Marie-Claude Lalonde, please contact us at the coordinates above.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, is a Pontifical Charity which has as Mission to provide assistance to Catholics wherever the Church suffers from poverty or persecution. The international charity operates offices in 23 countries including Canada, who together support projects in over 145 countries.

ACN Project of the Week : Help to complete construction of a new church

03.07.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, CONSTRUCTION, Slovakia

Slovakia

Success Story: Help to complete construction of a new church in Cizatrice

The parish of Kecerovce lies within the archdiocese of Kosice in the eastern part of Slovakia, not far from the Hungarian border. It also serves seven outlying villages, each with its own church. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we have already been able to help for the renovation of two of these churches, with $22,650  for the church in Herl’any and $15,100 for the church in Bolianov. The parish priest has assured us that your aid has given the parishioners a new sense of enthusiasm and motivation to work even harder at bringing new life to their parish.

 

The village of Cizatrice is also part of the parish territory, with around 100 practicing Catholics who have no church of their own. Right now they are able to use the Greek-Catholic (Byzantine-rite) church, but it is not a practicable solution over the long term.

 

The Latin-rite community needs its own church where Holy Mass can be celebrated and catechetical instruction given. The community has have made every effort, holding numerous collections in the parish and raising funds for a new church, which is now nearing completion, but they have now run out of funds. Doors and windows need to be fitted before they can complete the project.

 

Thanks again to our generous benefactors; we were able to provide $22,650. Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice has written to thank us with these words “Every day I include you in my prayers and remember all our benefactors in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. May God reward you!”

 

Would you like to support a similar project? Simply click on the red button below and choose the ‘Project of the Week’.

ACN Press – A courageous witness for interfaith dialogue

22.06.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN PRESS, By Mario Bard, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Interreligious Dialogue, Journey with ACN, Nigeria, Persecution of Christians, Services de Traduction Julie Bourbeau

Canada
A courageous witness of dialogue

Montréal, Friday, June 22nd From June 8th to 14th, Aid to the Church in Need Canada had the good luck and pleasure to welcome a direct witness to the persecution against Christians, who, for close to twenty years, has been a passionate advocate of interreligious and interethnic dialogue, Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama.

Msgr Kaigama after Mass in Toronto

 

“This man is endowed with incredible strength,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, ACN National Director. “Despite all of the reasons he has to be angry, he preaches peace with his words and his life choice. He chose the nonviolent option, which was not obvious given his personal story.”

 

Msgr Kaigama gives a Homily at Saint Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal

In fact, during meetings held in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Gatineau and Montréal, Mgr. Kaigama revealed that his tribe was affected by a previous jihad in 1804. Later on, in 1892, several members of his tribe were assassinated or enslaved, historic events not well known in the West. ” It was Fulani shepherds – Muslims – who attacked the stronghold where my tribe had sought refuge,” recounted Mgr. Kaigama. “I would have every reason to be angry.” In addition to his family story, the archbishop found himself at the heart of an episode of rare violence, right after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

 

Marie-Claude Lalonde, Msgr Kaigama and Mgr Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal

Creating dialogue

When he was named Archbishop of the Diocese of Jos in April 2000, Mgr. Kaigama thought that he would be able to catch his breath. “I thought I would be able to rest,” he told us. The fact is, since February 3, 1995, he had spent a lot of energy in creating a new diocese, Jalingo. But in September 2001, this town of the Middle Belt caught fire, even though it has the reputation of being in a moderate environment, in a Nigeria that is split in two: the Muslim North and the Christian South.

Following the September 11 tragedy, the town of Jos caught fire. In 10 days, more than 1,000 people were killed. “My people were killed, my church burnt, my house destroyed, the vehicles we were using to go to remote and difficult places were all burnt. I always tell people that no one should be angrier than I! When my church was attacked, 14 people were killed; I saw their bodies at my feet. I should be the angriest person,” he repeats. But I said to myself: ‘When you are angry, you are hurting yourself most of all. Let’s find a way to talk.’ And that’s how I got into the dialogue, calling on reasonable Muslims and leaders [from all walks of life] to sit together and find solutions for every situation: what can we do to avoid crises? How can we get our people to embark on constructive dialogue when there is a problem so they don’t get into hostile confrontation?”

 

Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa with Archbishop Kaigama of Jos

Being a credible witness

Msgr Kaigama continues to be misunderstood by several of his compatriots and co-religionists. After all, not many Christians would dare to sleep at an Imam’s or pray at a mosque with Muslims or even attend a wedding. Some find it too weak, others, naive and a waste of time in a fight they consider already lost.

 

“In Africa [for the last few years], the seeds of discord and distrust have been sown, especially in Nigeria … where the Sharia was implemented in nine States,” he stated. “However, as a Christian, my duty is to do what Jesus asked me to do: He is the Light, the Truth and the Life. If I cannot follow his path, I have no reason to be what I am. I always tell my people: ‘Let’s get back to the origins [of our faith]. Following violence, the young people come to us, especially the religious leaders. They say: ‘Buy weapons for us!’ So I say: ‘If I have to fight with weapons, what does the Word ‘I give you my peace, I leave you my peace’ mean. I tell them that it’s not my mission. Even if it’s difficult – [especially] when someone has lost their father, their mother, their whole family – we try to pacify them and call on the government to do something about it.”

 

Msgr Kaigama with Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto

Msgr. Kaigama continues his work in favour of dialogue in Nigeria. He is one of the founders and promoters of the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace Centre, located in Jos. In October 2017, he organized an interreligious prayer for peace with other religious leaders.

“We are keeping Msgr. Kaigama in our hearts and pray that his work bears fruit!” says Ms. Lalonde. “I invite our benefactors to pray for him and his mission, trusting that God can bring peace to even the most hardened of hearts. For Mgr. Kaigama, the words of the Gospel ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you’ make sense.”

 

Archbishop Kaigama with the ACN Team in Montreal, including volunteers!

ACN Project of the Week: Mass Offerings in Uruguay

20.06.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Journey with ACN, Mass Offerings, Priests, SUBSISTENCE, Uruguay

Uruguay

Special Mass Offerings for 18 elderly priests in need

Few people have summarized the importance of the priesthood more trenchantly than Saint Jean Marie Vianney, the famous Curé of Ars: “Without the sacrament of ordination, we would not have the Lord. Who placed him in the Tabernacle? The priest! Who welcomed your soul at its first entry into life? The priest! Who nourishes it in order to give it the strength to complete its pilgrimage? The priest! Who will prepare it to appear before God by washing it for the last time in the blood of Christ? The priest; always the priest.”

 

The Catholic Church in Uruguay has considerably less influence in society than it does in other Latin American countries. Only a little over half the population claim to be Catholic, religion has largely been banished to the private sphere. Needless to say, many aspects of the law are also in direct contradiction with Catholic teachings. The Catholic Church in Uruguay has considerably less influence in society than it does in other Latin American countries. Only a little over half the population claim to be Catholic, religion has largely been banished to the private sphere.

There are over 400,000 priests in the world in whose hands the bread and wine of the Eucharist are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Among them are 18 frail and elderly priests living in a retirement home for priests in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital. Many of these hands have aged and the priests are perhaps also sick, a few barely have strength to elevate the Chalice. Nonetheless, they continue faithfully and tirelessly celebrating the Sacrifice of Christ.

 

Since mid-19th century, Uruguay, the second smallest country in Latin America, has had a long history with secularism. In 1859, the Jesuits were banished from the land and 12 years later all the cemeteries were seized by the state. Anticlerical, liberal elements engaged in constant provocations. For example, deliberately providing free barbecue grills on Good Friday, and inviting everyone to use them. Finally, in 1917 the strict separation Church and State was enshrined in the Constitution. Officially, there are no Christian feasts in Uruguay. Consequently, instead of Christmas, the official calendar has a “Family Day” and Holy Week is a “Week of Tourism.”

 

Many Catholic priests in Uruguay live on the edge of poverty, especially those who are elderly and sick. The 18 elderly priests in the priests’ retirement home in Montevideo have spent their lives faithfully serving God and the Church. Now that they have come to the evening of their lives, they deserve to receive loving care and gratitude for their service.

 

We propose to help them with Mass Offerings which will allow them to celebrate Holy Mass for the intentions of our benefactors. This allows you, our benefactors to contribute something towards the Church in need through this retirement home – and allows these priests to provide for their own simple personal needs, such as medication, etc.

 

We are giving a total of $22,000, to ensure each of these priests will receive $120 per month as an expression of our love and gratitude for their lifetime service.


 

ACN Project of the Week – Transportation project in Algeria

14.06.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Africa, Algeria, Journey with ACN, TRANSPORTATION

Algeria

A vehicle for pastoral work in the birthplace of Saint Augustine

 

In the birthplace of Saint Augustine, there are only around 5,000 Catholics living today.

Algeria, located in the northwest Africa, is the largest country in Africa, with an area of almost 930,000 square miles (2.38 million km²) – approximately one quarter the size of the United States!  Almost all citizens – 97% of its 36.5 million inhabitants – are Muslim, and the few Christians who live in the country are scattered around the territory. As a minority, they tread very carefully for they run the risk of being accused of proselytizing among the people in the Muslim majority.

Father Paul-Elie Cheknoun is a young priest, newly ordained in 2016. He grew up in his native Algeria, though he trained for the priesthood in France. After his ordination, his French bishop sent him home to Algeria in response to a request from the Archbishop of Algiers, who needed a priest to serve the Catholic faithful.

Father Paul has to cover very long distances in order to reach the faithful. He has made an urgent appeal to ACN for help in purchasing a suitable vehicle. He writes: “By helping me you will be helping the Christians of Algeria, to whom I have dedicated my life.”

We have promised him $32,400 to help the good father reach the faithful in his parish.

Feeling inspired by this ACN success story?  Would you like to GIVE for a similar project helping with transportation or priests in Africa?

 

Please click to donate!


 

ACN Feature Story: Good Samaritans of the Valley of the Christians in Syria

08.06.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN NEWS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Josué Villalón, Emergency Aid, Middle East, Syria, Valley of the Christians

Syria

Good Samaritans of the Valley of the Christians in Syria

Mzeina Hospital is situated in the small town of the same name, one of several that make up the Valley of the Christians (Wadi Al-Nasara in Arabic), a rural region of Syria, close to the frontier with Lebanon and roughly halfway between the city of Homs and the Mediterranean coast. “The hospital has been open for four years now and for the past two years the number of admitions, operations and basic treatments has been growing steadily” the hospital director, Dr Sam Abboud, assures us.

Sacred Heart next to a poster of Mzeina Hospital, in the Valley of Christians, Syria

The war which continues to tear this country apart seems a long way from this region, yet the doctors and their co-workers at the hospital assure us that the situation is still as bad as or worse than before. “People come to us asking for help and tell us that in other hospitals they couldn’t get treatment because they did not have enough money. We don’t simply tell them to go away; we try to help them in every way we can,” says Toni Tannous, the head of the physiotherapy team.

 

Part of the staff of Mzeina Hospital. Tannous, in the middle, is the Head of Staff.

The doctors themselves and the other employees at the hospital have themselves had personal experience of the consequences of the war. “I myself had to flee from Homs because of the war,” Toni continues, “and now I am working here. All of us feel a sense of responsibility in one way or another to help in whatever way we can.” This hospital, which treats thousands of people every month and has almost 500 inpatients, works in collaboration with the Saint Peter’s Aid Centre run by the Melkite Catholic Church in the nearby town of Marmarita.

 

“From the health centre run by the Melkite Church in Marmarita we attend to over a hundred urgent medical cases a month, in addition to other cases where we pay for medicines. We take the families to the hospital and have a working agreement with the Mzeina Hospital to treat them there,” explains Elías Jahloum, a volunteer and coordinator of the Saint Peter’s Aid Centre. “In the Valley of the Christians there are no public hospitals; the closest ones are in Homs or Tartus, an hour or more away by car on account of the Army security controls. That is why the healthcare service offered by the Church in this region is greatly appreciated by those displaced by the war, who have few financial means.”

 

Valley of the Christans from Marmarita

At the very core of suffering, praying for benefactors all over the world

Elías accompanied a delegation from the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), who visited some of the inpatients in the Mzeina Hospital. Their care is paid for by the Saint Peter’s aid centre with the financial support of ACN. “Thank you for coming to see us, Elias, and thanks also to your benefactors,” said Najwa Arabi, a middle-aged mother of a family who had just undergone surgery on her stomach. “We know that there are people in many countries around the world who are helping us. Every day we pray for them and give thanks to God,” she added.

 

Najwa Arabi in Mzeina Hospital with her family

On the next ward is Maryam Hourani, the mother of Janadios, a little boy barely more than a year old who is recovering from bronchiolitis. “He was very ill and could hardly breathe when we brought him to the hospital,” she explains.

“We contacted Elias and he assured us that the Saint Peter’s Centre would pay his costs. I can only say thank you.” Equally grateful is a young woman by the name of Shasha Khoury, who is recovering from surgery for a breast tumour. “I’m five months pregnant,” she says. “It is a boy and he’s going to be called Fayez, which means ‘winner,” she smiles.

 

Dr Abboud, who is an ear nose and throat specialist, explains that some of the operations they perform are free and that they have a special program for children and young people with hearing problems. “Many of these cases are caused by bombs and other explosions during the war,” he explains, adding that the biggest difficulties they face are the lack of infrastructure, obtaining new medical equipment with which they can operate better, and the constant power cuts. “Although in this last year we have managed to obtain medicines which until recently it was impossible to find in Syria,” he concedes.

 

Entrance of the Mzeina Hospital. From right to left: Dr. Sam Abboud, hospital’s director; Majd Jhaloum, from Saint Peter Center; Toni Tannous, Head of staff; Josef Moussarad, accountant of the Hospital and Elias Jahloum, head of the San Peter Center

As we leave the hospital, Elías and Toni say goodbye with a big hug. Both men are very heavy built and look almost like brothers. “Whenever a difficult case crops up in the hospital, with a patient who has very little money, we always try to help by giving a discount and extending the payment period. When such cases occur, we call the Saint Peter’s centre, knowing that Elias there or Father Walid, the parish priest of Saint Peter’s Church, will always respond to our requests,” Toni tells us. The presence of the Church and its work on behalf of the displaced by the war and the local poor is quite literally saving many lives.

 

The pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need sends around $75,000 each month to the Saint Peter’s Aid Centre in Marmarita, a large part of which is to cover the cost of essential medicines and the medical care of over 4,000 individuals. “We continue to need your aid. You are the hope of all these people, and a wonderful example for our society,” says Dr Abboud, as he bids us farewell.