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


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?


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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


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.



ACN Project of the Week – Mass Offerings for priests in Quetta  

06.06.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN


Mass Offerings for priests in Quetta


Since 1948, a conflict has been dragging on in the state of Balochistan between the Pakistani government and rebel groups who are fighting for the autonomy of this province situated in Pakistan’s southwest region.


Supported the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan, Baloch rebels are demanding an independent Balochistan causing ordinary people to live in a constant state of fear. In some areas, every building has a separate rear exit as a means of escaping violence.


As the largest province in Pakistan, with an area of around 136,000 square miles (347,188 km²), Balochistan is almost the size of Germany and covers almost half of Pakistan‘s entire territory. At the same time, Balochistan is the most sparsely populated province in the country, with just 8 million people. Some 30,000 are Catholics, half of them live in the provincial capital of Quetta, the rest are thinly scattered across the entire region.


Working in the midst of violence

In Quetta itself, there are numerous checkpoints. In many areas of the city, you can only travel with a special permit, which must be requested several days in advance. Even the bishop cannot travel freely and is subject to constant police checks. His cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, is in the same area as an army barracks. Which means that a special permit is required to enter.  That means that in many cases,  the Catholic faithful are not able to attend Holy Mass. Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam himself requires a special permit in order to gain access to his own cathedral and has to call the authorities in advance every time and request permission. He is stopped repeatedly and searched by security forces at the checkpoints.

For these priests, none of whom belong to the Baloch ethnic group, the situation is becoming increasingly difficult. At one time they could travel anywhere, but today the parameter area within which they can move freely is becoming ever smaller. Because of the fighting between rebels and government forces, many places are completely off-limits. “As soon as the fighting stops, we endeavour to visit our Catholic faithful,” says the bishop. “In doing so, however, we risk being killed by landmines and rocket propelled grenades. It saddens us greatly that we cannot visit the people more frequently.”

The Mass Offerings you give ACN are of huge help to the bishop and his five priests in Quetta. We were able to send them Masses to a total value of $15,150. These Masses will be celebrated for the intentions of our kind benefactors. Thee offerings you have made will help them carry out their ministry in these difficult and dangerous circumstances.

But part of the reason the priests cannot regularly visit many places is also due to the vast distances. Some Christian communities live as much as 800 or even 1000 km from Quetta, which of course means that every journey is very expensive too. The fact that many of the Catholic faithful live scattered across this vast area of the province in very small communities is a major difficulty for them.  In one town there may be perhaps three families, in another just one, in another perhaps four, making it extremely hard to establish any kind of regular Church life.


Thank you !


To make a donation for a similar project – please click to donate!


ACN Update: Nigeria’s Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama to do a cross-Canada tour

25.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Nigeria


A word of hope amidst violence and persecution

Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama is the archbishop of Jos in Nigeria and the president of the Episcopal Conference of the country.

He will be visiting Canada from June 7 to June 14 to speak about the circumstances in his country of Nigeria, the most populous in Africa.

The difficulties are many: poverty, corruption, lack of healthcare and problems with the education system. In addition, factors contributing to the difficulties like the presence of Islamic extremist terrorist groups in the north, such as the so-called Boko Haram as well as the situation of Christians living under the Sharia Law in at least nine of the northern states.

Archbishop Kaigama will address these issues.
However, he strongly believes that dialogue is the key to a peaceful country.

Dates and times:

Friday June 8: Karol Wojtyla Hall, 4885 Saint John Paul II Way, 7:30 pm

TorontoSaturday June 9: Mass at the Cathedral St. Michael, 65 Bond Street, at 5pm, will be followed by a talk given by the Bishop Kaigama
Sunday June 10: after the noon Mass, at St Clare Parish, 1118, St.Clair Ave West

Tuesday, June 12: Diocesan Centre, 180 Mont-Bleu Blvd, 7:30 pm

Thursday, June 14: Atwater Library
1200 Atwater Avenue – Atwater Metro, 7:30 pm

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-585-6333.



ACN Project of the Week – Bangladesh

23.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Bangladesh, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Project of the Week


A chapel built for a village

The population of Bangladesh is close to 90% Muslim.  The Catholics only constitute a tiny minority of 0.2%.  The faithful belong mainly to ethnic minorities, making them thus a sort of double-minority.  Last year, Pope Francis’ visit brought them a little extra encouragement.

Close to 80,000 Catholics live in the Mymesingh diocese, located in the northern part of the country.  The Catholic faith only arrived in the region a mere 125 years ago.  Most people who were baptized were practitioners of traditional religions.  These people worked to deeply ingrain the Good News of Christ into their lives and practice their faith very deeply and with great intensity. The Church has become their adopted home.

The village of Digolbagh has 200 Catholic families and is situated about 3.2 kilometers from the Bhalukapara missionary station.  Despite the somewhat short distance from people who live in the city, the village is quite isolated.  It has been Catholic since 1924, but has not yet erected a chapel.  Father  Peter Rema  has invested a great deal of effort into his parish’s spiritual well-being. So he has asked us to help him build a chapel so that Catholics can finally gather to pray.

Already, the faithful are making great sacrifices to make this project a reality, but they are too poor to collect the funds necessary for the construction.  That is why we would like to help them with an amount of 15,000 dollars.

To make a donation which will go to support a similar project – please click the ‘donate’ button.


ACN Project of the Week – Venezuela

16.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, South America, Venezuela


A  pastoral centre for youth in La Guaira

Venezuela is descending ever deeper into crisis. The people are desperate and bitter, violence is growing, the murder rate is rising, many souls are seeking refuge and solace in drugs. The Church stands strong by those who are suffering and tries to give them hope.

In these difficult times, Bishop Raùl Biord Castillo of La Guaira, who is based in the northern part of the country, would like to strengthen the pastoral ministry. Seeking a means to do so, he has asked himself the following question: “What does God want for us?”

Venezuela, La Guaira, 2018
Msgr. Raúl Biord Castillo, Bishop of La Guaira with the faithful.

The bishop is particularly concerned about the country’s young people. Youth groups have already been set up in several parishes and a number of spiritual movements assist in youth pastoral ministry. Their goal is to address the issues that deeply concern young people and accompany them on their spiritual journey, in the hopes of integrating these young people into the spiritual life of the community and deepening their faith.

Spiritual vocations are to be promoted as well. The pastoral ministry needs to take the differing needs of each social environment into consideration, because young people face different problems depending upon whether they grew up in rural areas, in cities or in the suburbs. The young people range from university students to young workers, and so there are countless difficult circumstances that need to be addressed, such as drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, street children, violence, crime, and the incarceration.

Some parishes do not have any place to hold the youth programs and often lack people able to devote themselves to this apostolate. For this reason, the bishop wants to set up a “school for group leaders” housing it in a former convent which they would convert into a meeting place, thus killing two birds with one stone! The facility could be used to train group leaders and youth groups from parishes that do not have a suitable place to meet could use the building for retreats and a range of pastoral activities.

Venezuela, La Guaira, 2018
Mgr. Raúl Biord Castillo, Bishop of La Guaira with youth.

The chosen location of the facility is ideal because it is situated in the mountains where temperatures are not too hot and a beautiful panoramic view acts as balm to the soul. The demand is great; the facility is already almost fully booked! Unfortunately, only groups of maximally 20 people can use the facility as it is now. Once the renovations are complete, it will accommodate up to 80 overnight guests.


Aid to the Church in Need would like to help hope flourish by setting up this facility in support of the young people who will benefit from it!  If you would like to contribute to this project – simply click the donate button and select the ‘Project of the Week’!




ACN Project of the Week in Central African Republic

03.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Central African Republic (CAR), International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Religious publications

Central African Republic

Printing thirty thousand copies of the New Testament in Sango


The Central African Republic has been a country in crisis since it gained independence in 1960, with one coup after another. Its population has been terrorized by an unending stream of armed groups that although they may have gone by different names, always committed the same crimes: looting houses, burning down villages, abducting innocent people, raping women and girls, and killing. In 2013, a bloody civil war broke-out and large parts of the country have since remained under rebel control until this day. The government has done nothing to intervene, abandoning their people to an awful fate.


The only help the general population receives comes from the Church. The Church cares for orphans, the poor and the sick. It runs schools and hospitals and, in its convents, monasteries and missions, provides shelter to refugees whose houses were burned down by rebel groups. Time and again, priests and religious risk their lives to protect defenseless women and children from armed assailants. Priests have been taken hostage and several have been killed. Many more have been threatened at gunpoint (see news from May 2 on FIDES).

Central African Republic, diocese of Bangassou, 14.04.2017
Fr. Yovane Cox and the faithful during procession of the Way of the Cross

Putting the country back together is not only a matter of rebuilding houses and institutions that have been destroyed through the conflict. But first and foremost, the hearts and conscience of the people requires strengthening and renewal.


Central African Republic: A baptism in the Bouar Diocese

The country only has hope for a future if hatred is overcome and a new leaf turned over through reconciliation and forgiveness. Believers must also gain a deeper understanding of the Good News of Christ. After all, two thirds of the population may be Christian, but a belief in witchcraft is still deeply rooted in many places and superstition is widespread.


The archbishop of Bangui, Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, believes that it is essential for the people to have the opportunity to read the Holy Scriptures themselves and to immerse themselves in their message. Translated copies of the Bible into the national language have now sold out and need to be reprinted. The cardinal considers this one of the most pressing projects of all.


ACN would like to help by giving $56,000 to print 30,000 copies, in Sango, of the New Testament for the people of the Central African Republic.





Please click to support a similar project!



ACN’s Project of the week – Guatemala – a car for a very large parish

05.04.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Central America, Guatemala, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, MOTORIZATION


A car for pastoral work in a very large parish

The parish of El Calvario in  Cobàn is under the care of three priests belonging to the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Although the parish church is close to the city centre, the parish itself covers a vast and mountainous area of 2,000 square kilometres, with 117 outlying communities to care for, and there is only three priests! In comparaison, the Megacity and capital of Japan, Tokyo, is a little bigger.


The challenges are enormous , and the distances considerable, and often on poor roads. The northern part of the region is unsafe on account of the drug traffickers, organized crime, and three quarters of the population live in poverty, often extreme poverty. Most of the population belong to the indigenous Kekchi (or Q’eqchi) tribe. The first roads into the region were only built in the 1960s and 1970s, and to this day the Kekchi still live on the margins of society.

In the mountain of Guatemala, in a territory a little bit less larger than Japan’s capital and megacity Tokyo, the three religious of the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary wants to improve the time they passed with their parishioners. A new car will be of great help! 



During the civil war that lasted from 1968 until 1996 many people were abducted and tortured or lost close family members, and many children were orphaned. “The wounds from this time have still not healed,” says Father Charitable Derisseau, who in fact comes from Haiti himself. “The widows, orphans and other survivors of this conflict are still living here in our parish”, he adds. Father Derisseau has left his own country, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, to devote his life to the poor in Guatemala.


The Catholic Church here is devoting itself particularly to the Kekchi people. “They are the majority in our parish, and they are particularly poor and marginalized”, their parish priest tells us. Many of their villages can only be reached on foot, which means that the priests sometimes have to wade through the mud to get to their destination. “Generally, we aim to visit 10 communities in five days. Sometimes we have to walk for hours to get from one village to another. But although walking through the mud is extremely hard work and makes us sweat and struggle, we are welcomed with such warmth and celebration”, he tells us. The Catholic faithful are overjoyed when the priest comes, bringing them the Sacraments and helping them with wise spiritual and practical counsel. Many of the villages can, however, be reached along very poor, muddy and deeply potholed tracks – but these can only be managed in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.


At present the priests do have an old car, which is causing them more and more problems, however, and so they have asked our help for a new vehicle that can cope with the difficult conditions. We have promised them 22 650 dollars.

Guatemala: Father Charitable Derisseau presiding the Eucharist with his parishioners. 




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India: A love that doesn’t take retirement

23.03.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Asia, By Maria Lozano, Feature Story, India, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Julie Bourbeau, Mass Offerings

A love that doesn’t take retirement

They have dedicated their lives to God and to their fellow men, following a path of great renunciation. They are seven priests who, many decades ago, left behind their own home territory in the South of India to work as missionaries in the North of the country. A thousand miles and more from home, both in geographical terms and in terms of their faith, these priests may not have changed their country, but they did have to learn a new language and new customs in this vast and immensely richly varied subcontinent that is India. And now they are living in a small home for retired priests. But if their bodies have suffered the ravages of time, their spirits have not. They continue to burn with the desire to incarnate the very essence of their vocation by serving God in their fellow men, right up to the hour of their death.

“My mission has been and still is to suffer with Christ,” says Father Joseph Mattathilani, summing up a life marked by grave illnesses, including a brain tumour. “I was left paralyzed for months, and at one point they gave me just three days to live,” he explains. Yet he radiates peace and serenity, despite his fragile health. “My mother died when I was a child. Our Lady was the one to take care of me and bring me to the priesthood. I wanted to give my life for other people. The miracle was to get so much love back from other people.”

Archbishop William D’Souza and Father Aloysius, 90 years old. In this diocese, 60 Novena Masses for 10 retired priests were distributed. 

In a similar way, speaking with some difficulty, Father George Theruvan recalls other sufferings. Now aged 87, he vividly recalls one of the attacks on their mission, when guerrillas put a pistol to his temple and he thought his last moment had come. “I began to pray and I offered my life to God, asking to be able to embrace this moment in peace. Those were two terrible hours. But then, after destroying everything, they left again. Not everyone welcomed us with open arms; many times we had to start over again. But all of us can truly say that it was worth the trouble and that we have been treated with great affection and gratitude by the ordinary people.”

“We travelled from one place to another, spending a night in each village, where we explained the Gospel and celebrated the sacraments,” recalls Father Sebastian Puthenpura. He also tells us about the beginnings of his missionary work. This priest, who has just celebrated his 85th birthday, quickly discovered “that our work would have been in vain if we had not educated the women. The Church cannot progress without those who will be the future pillars of their society, namely the mothers,” he insists. At that time it was not easy to convince the fathers to send their daughters to school, nor is it easy even today in the poorest rural areas of the state of Bihar. The South of India has centuries of Christian tradition behind it, whereas in the region of Bihar, the archdiocese of Patna will only just be celebrating the first century of its existence in 2019.

But “always and in everything I find my support in the Lord,” he adds. Even during the times when the ordinary cultural difficulties were exacerbated by the instability in the region due to the presence of terrorists and armed gangs. “Once I went to a village where there were 11 girls and nobody was willing to send them to school; they thought it too dangerous. The school was empty. But then it occurred to me that Saint Joseph was the guardian of the Child Jesus and looked after him and cared for him. So I entrusted the school to his care, and within two months we had 400 children.”

At the age of 90, Father Aloysius Sequeira is the oldest of the group. “I became a priest because I wanted to be a missionary. To do so, I travelled over 2000 miles (3000 km) to give my life for the people. I knew that the Lord would do the rest. This year I will complete my 60th year in the priesthood, and I have never regretted it even for a single day.”

“What good does it do you to gain the whole world if you don’t have God?

Father Sebastian picked up the thread of the conversation here and told us how he had a good job and everything he could possibly need to live a comfortable and happy life in the South of India, until one day he heard a bishop from the North of India speak about the missions. He asked himself, “What good does it do you to gain the whole world if you don’t have God? Everything else is in vain.” Still full of vitality, he recalls how “I went to my father and told him, I’m going to be a priest. I’m going to leave work and travel with the bishop. It’s been over 50 years since then, and I am still helping as much as I can, above all hearing confessions, and they call me up from the charismatic spiritual centre as well to help them, because they can’t cope with the demand.”

Visit of ACN Team in the residence for old priests – Father Sebastian: ““What good does it do you to gain the whole world if you don’t have God?”

Many of them have health problems now, especially their hearts which seem to be worn down after having battled and cared so much for the simple, ordinary people in so many villages and rural corners of the dioceses of Patna and Buxar. Thanks to the Mass stipends channelled to them by the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), they are able to cover at least some of their medical expenses. They are immensely grateful to ACN and to all its generous benefactors: “We are missionaries and we are on the front line, but you are supporting us from your own home countries with your prayers and your financial support, thanks to the Mass stipends that come to us through ACN. And so you too have become missionaries, so that we can work together for the glory of God.”


ACN provides a significant part of its financial aid to priests in the poorest parts of the world (above all in Africa and Asia) in the form of Mass intentions, which they celebrate for the intentions of our benefactors. A total of around 1.5 million Masses are celebrated in this way each year – or one every 22 seconds. For places like the archdiocese of Patna, this represents an indispensable support, since in many such poor areas of the world the priests cannot count on the support of the people but, on the contrary, even have to support them instead.


If you want to pass via Aid to the Church in Need for your Mass intentions, please visit the following web address:


ACN Success Story – Thank you for the Mass intentions in Papua New Guinea!

28.02.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, Adaptation Mario Bard, Catholic priests, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Mass Offerings, Papua New Guinea, Priests

Papua New Guinea

Success Story – Thank you for your Mass intentions!

The 26 priests of the diocese of Wabag, in central Papua New Guinea, are very grateful to you for the 2,025 Mass Intentions that you have provided. Bishop Arnold Orowae appealed to us for help last year, since his diocese is very poor and his priests are forced to supplement their income by growing their own food in order to support themselves. At the same time, they have to minister to vast parishes with numerous outstations in this remote and difficult mountain terrain.


The long distances they have to travel include negotiating sometimes almost impassable tracks. Yet they still minister unfailingly to the 75,000 Catholic faithful of the diocese, visiting the sick, counselling and accompanying families, travelling to remote outstations to say Mass and administer the Sacraments, providing religious education and celebrating Holy Mass in the schools, organizing retreats for children, young people, altar servers and catechists.


Since the Year of Mercy, there has also been an increase in the number of people seeking the Sacrament of Confession, which, of course, takes up much of the priests‘ time. In many places there has also been an intensification in Eucharistic adoration. Feast days and holy days are celebrated with great festivities. For example, each parish prepares for its own patronal feast with a novena, and during October, the month of the Rosary, there are processions in all communities where there is a chapel. So it is that the priests are tirelessly on the go.


In this situation the Mass Intentions of our benefactors are an immense support. There is no question here of “paying” for the Holy Mass, but there is a long tradition in the Church of asking priests to celebrate Mass for a particular intention – for example a deceased loved one – and in return giving a gift that is in no sense a “payment” but rather a gesture of love and gratitude and material support on the part of the giver. Bishop Orowae writes to tell us that “All my priests are most grateful for the Mass Intentions they have received and gladly celebrate Holy Mass for the intentions of those who have given them.”


Your Mass stipends not only help to support the priests themselves but also enable them to provide for some of the needs of their parishes, for example by providing hosts and altar wine or helping to maintain and worthily furnish some of the chapels in the remotest communities.


May our Lord bless all who have helped!

If you wish to have a mass celebrated, just click on the red button and offer your Mass intentions via Aid to the Church in Need.  Thank you!