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ACN BENEFACTORS

 

Special Report – Kenya: a visit to Lodwar

26.11.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, By Teresa Engländer, Kenya

Lodwar 6Kenya

Today we arrive in Lodwar,

where the dry season poses a real problem for its inhabitants.

On October 8th our ACN delegation visited Lodwar, the largest town in northwestern Kenya with a population of 48,316. According to the Insider’s guide to Kenya, Lodwar’s history began around 1933 when a trader named Shah Mohamed, arrived on the banks of the Turkwell River. The roads were inaccessible so he brought donkeys. He eventually built a permanent trading center in Lodwar including a gas station. The district commissioner’s office was built, followed by a small medical clinic and a government prison. During the 1960s than missionaries built schools in and around the town.

The town had developed a reputation as an isolated outpost removed from the rest of Kenya, but in recent years, Lodwar has expanded and gained commercial and economic prominence. It is housing local and governmental facilities, including Turkana’s biggest health facility and the main referral hospital.

Lodwar covers a very poor and dry region without fixed roads and has a hot desert climate with very high temperatures and very little rainfall throughout the year. Though it is at the epicenter of the world’s largest underground aquifers, its residents experience intermittent water shortages leading to deaths of their cattle. The people here are predominantly nomadic. Everyone is waiting for rain – they haven’t seen any since the last rainfall in April this year.

A warm thank you for the benefactors of ACN comes from the Cloistered Augustinian Recollect Sisters
A warm thank you for the benefactors of ACN comes from the Cloistered Augustinian Recollect Sisters

Aid is urgently needed for these people. “We face many problems here due to the natural drought and the electricity cuts,” tells Dominic Kimengich, the Bishop of this huge diocese. Only about 35 percent of all citizens in Lowdar have access to electricity in their homes. It takes hours to get to the farthest outstations.

Our ACN delegation visited the Catholic school run by the Sisters of Mary, the convent of the Augustine Sisters,  (helped by ACN with a host baking machine) and the new Radio Akicha stationlodwar 10

The Bishop hopes, that we will also help them with the formation of future priests and construction work at the pastoral center.

One of ACN’s successful  projects visited by the delegation is the set up of Catholic Radio Akicha in the Northwestern diocese of Lodwar. Many people here live in small villages, miles away from, and isolated from one another. Thanks to the new radio station, which broadcasts their own programs including prayers, interviews and news, the people in the area are now connected to the local universal Catholic Church.

Warm thanks  to ACN’s friends and benefactors comes from the Cloistered Augustinian Recollect Sisters also in the very poor and large diocese of Lodwar in Northern Kenya. These five Sisters – all of whom come from Mexico – have served the Catholic Church in Lodwar for several years now. “Thank you so much dear benefactors of ACN,” they said, “for the new host backing machine,” they say with a big smile on their face. Besides preparing hosts, they sew and stitch to support themselves.

Lodwar 1

 

 

 

 

 

With thanks to Teresa Engländer for text and photos, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin ACN Canada

ACN Feature story: Central African Republic – Violence increases

13.11.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Central African Republic

Central African Republic

A return of violence to the capital city of Bangui – A special report by Fr. Federico Trinchero, OCD

Father Federicho Trinchero is an Italian Carmelite and lives in the convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, situated in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), Bangui.  According to recent information we have received at ACN, there are as many as 7,600 displaced who have fled the new waves of violence, and who have sought refuge – once again – with the Carmelites.

For this religious, these recent events are a little bit of a repeat of the 5th of December, 2013.  This date was one of the worst conflicts in Centralafrican history which left thousands displaced in Bangui, 10,000 people in the convent of the Carmelites which also became by consequence, the largest refugee camp in the capital.

A delegation from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) returned recently from CAR. On Sunday November 22, ACN will hold a day of Prayer for Peace in CAR, just a few days prior to the expected arrival of Pope Francis to the country on November 29 and 30.

We give you a report on the situation of their last days in Bangui, as given by the Father Federicho Trinchero.

Père Federicho en compagnie de l'archevêque de Bangui, Mgr Dieudonné  Nzapalainga.

Father Federicho in the company of  the Archbishop of Bangui, Msgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga

 

29.10.2015

This morning the situation in Bangui has once again become worse.

Father Matteo and André had gone to the Bank and I had left for St Marc’s to accompany the students to school. But we were surprised by a flood of people who were flocking to Carmel. Father Matteo turned back and reached Padre Pio’s. I tried to reach the Capuchins. But also at their place there were people who were fleeing. I telephoned Fr Father Edouard. No school for today. I have never seen so many people fleeing, especially children who were coming out of school and their parents who were arriving to get them.   Here at Carmel we are OK and we will see if the people are coming back again or just staying here for the night. But many of them are arriving with their goods and chattels in bundles on their head.

 

30.10.2015

The situation in Bangui is much calmer than yesterday. We managed to get to the bank and to school. Every so often there is gunfire. The helicopters often fly over our area. From 5 in the morning many people returned to their houses, but only to collect their goods and then return to Carmel.   Once again, in the morning, houses were set afire. It seems to me that it was in the Makambo area. Columns of smoke can be seen rising up.

 

People arrived en masse. It is impossible to say how many they are, but there are quite a lot – from Plateau, Nguitangola, Fatima, Quina, Boing… 

 

31.10.2015

Today has been rather tense, like a small edition of 5th December 2013.  In fact there was gunfire nearly the whole day in areas very close to us: Quina and Cattin.   The most crucial time was between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. People were streaming to Carmel from their homes, especially from Guitangola. There were also those who were crying in fear.   In the meantime we heard a lot of gunfire and the French helicopters were flying over almost on top of us. I must confess that I had a bit of healthy fear every so often.  Then I telephoned a French general who immediately informed the central coordination of the Sangaris about our situation. In case of urgency we now have a special telephone number to request help.  At the present moment we estimate we have around 5,000 refugees.

Central African Republic, Bangui, refugees at the compound of the Carmelite Monastery. Mother and children in front of a tent.

Central African Republic, Bangui, refugees at the compound of the Carmelite Monastery. Mother and children in front of a tent.

1.11.2015

Today has been like yesterday, if not worse.  After Mass, the gunfire started again, getting always closer to us. For hours the French helicopters flew over our area until the evening.   We knew that yesterday the Muslims had overcome the parish of Fatima which is at least two hundred metres in the direction of Ketengere. It had never happened before. People arrived en masse. It is impossible to say how many they are, but there are quite a lot – from Plateau, Nguitangola, Fatima, Quina, Boing…  There were also two Sisters of St Paul de Chartres from Foyer, who were attempting to get back home, but were forced to remain with us and this night they will sleep here. The rest of their community in Fatima were evacuated from Minusca and are now with the Combonian Fathers. There were too many burnt houses around them, the risk was too high.  A woman from the Avicom area gave birth and then escaped as fast as possible to us with her baby girl. Aristide immediately took care of her.  Then another woman gave birth during time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. She did not arrive in time to get to the main gate and had given birth on the ground in a tent.  Aristide ran to help with Br Jeannot-Marie who, without even taking off his holy habit, gave assistance to the mid-wife.  There has also been a little rain, but fortunately it lasted only a short time.  We open the gate of the courtyard every evening at five and then the people go out every morning at five. Others find space in the tents, or sleep at the grotto of Our Lady.

If it does rain we are forced to open the church, which we have already prepared by moving all the pews to one side.  By means of the Vicar, the Nuncio and the French I have informed the Bishop of our situation.

 

  On the average, we have one birth a day and we do everything possible to take the mothers to hospital. Yesterday I had to rush a woman to the general hospital for a Cesarian operation to avoid the death of the fetus and the mother, who is very young. We had to pay almost 70,000 Francs. Such an injustice to these poor people!

 

2.11.2015

The night was particularly eventful.   We had just got to sleep when all the people crowded into the garage began to cry out. We jumped out of bed thinking there was a Muslim attack. In reality it was a question of witchcraft or the cry of someone who had a nightmare or even the attempt of someone to rob the people of their money profiting from the panic….. It took almost an hour to calm the people. Then at 2.30 it began to rain and we put all the people, who were outside on the two verandahs, into the church. So many babies, so many women, but also so many young children.  At 6.30 in the morning we were, however, able to celebrate All Souls’ day Mass ‘tranquilly’.  Unfortunately the people continue to arrive even at night. This has never happened before.

 

Central African Republic, Convent of the Carmelite Fathers at Bangui, refugees in front of their tent.

Central African Republic, Convent of the Carmelite Fathers at Bangui, refugees in front of their tent.

 

4.11.2015

Unfortunately, both yesterday and today, after a day of truce, light gunfire started up again. It seems to have been a clash between the blue helmets and the anti-Balaka. More than that I do not know. The people are still with us and at night the mothers and children sleep in the courtyard and in the church. At the moment it is also raining. The Sisters of St Paul de Chartres managed to get home while, however, Cedric is still here. Since Thursday he has not been able to get near his house. On the average, we have one birth a day and we do everything possible to take the mothers to hospital. Yesterday I had to rush a woman to the general hospital for a Cesarian operation to avoid the death of the fetus and the mother, who is very young. We had to pay almost 70,000 Francs. Such an injustice to these poor people! Today, during Evening Prayer, Matteo had to carry another. The child was taken to Emergency suffering from a strong attack of malaria, but unfortunately died. He was only 5 years old. Yesterday morning there was a meeting with the Bishop to sum up the situation. Unfortunately we were unable to take part. A commission has been established to draw a document of protest about the inertia of the authorities and the military forces. Today, the Archbishop sent to us a journalist from French Catholic TV (KTO). He was with us for nearly the whole day and made a report on our place. Also France 24 produced an article on Carmel.

 

 

 

 

 

ACN Press: Refugees in the Middle-East to receive wishes from Canada

06.11.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Mario Bard, Middle East

 

 

Gatineau

Refugees in the Middle-East to receive wishes from Canada

Montreal-Gatineau, November 5, 2015 — Profoundly touched by the fate of Christian refugees in the Middle-East who are obliged to stay despite the conflicts, Chantal Lareau, a benefactor of Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN), let her “Missionary Heart” speak.

“The fate of Christians in the Middle-East is something that moves me deeply,” she explained. “I do not know how to do this work [missionary].” And then she exclaims “If I could only write to them!” So she submitted the idea to a person in with whom she works to animate a group of young people ages 12 to 17 in her parish – St Mark in Quebec (Gatineau region).  They accepted her idea; the young people will write Christmas Cards and send wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

When the parish priest, Father Dan Kelly, learned of the idea – he thought it was so good that he decided to invite his whole parish to contribute! “So, I presented the idea at all three masses over the weekend,” and people really got into the idea.  Furthermore, the video of Myriam was also presented at the 11 am Mass, it was magical!”

A transformative little girl

Produced by SAT7TV, a Catholic Lebanese network supported by Aid to the Church in Need, the seven minute long clip introducing little Myriam from Qaraqosh, Iraq – went viral over social media.

In it, she declares having no resentment toward those who took away her home, Islamic State (ISIS). “ I will not do anything to them.  I will only ask God to forgive them,” she said to the interviewer and adding: “Kill them? Why kill them?”

“When we presented the video, it was full [the church]: many adults were weeping, moved by the faith of this little girl,” explained Chantal Lareau.  Other parishioners experience different kinds of awareness, from the abundance we have here to the fact that God forgives. “ One woman was angry with God.  But to see little ten year old girl who forgives and says she is not angry with God, overwhelmed her. In fact, everyone was moved,” she said.
Great was the surprise when they realized that there are Christians in the Middle-East, or for the younger generation to realize that children like themselves have no homes and must live in refugee camps.

Cartes de Noel-2015-VF

Christmas Cards for refugees in the Middle-East

Chantal Lareau’s initiative has snow balled!  Aid to the Church in Need who she has supported for many years is getting on board and asking its benefactors and all interested people to get on board as well and participate in this wonderful initiative.

On its Facebook page, the Canadian section of the international Catholic charity has invited all to send their Christmas and New Year wishes which will be destined for refugees in the Middle East.

Left to right : A parishioner at St. Mark, Chantal Lareau and Father Dan Kelly.
(Thanks to : Chantal Lareau)

“The kids would like to get involved with the persecuted Catholics by writing them letters,” wrote Chantal Lareau when she submitted her project last October.  Thanks to her for sharing her idea, and now it’s your turn to participate in this momentum of solidarity!

 

Christmas cards can be sent to ACN at the Montreal office:

Aid to the Church in Need (Canada), Christmas Card Project, Post office box 670, Station H, Montreal, Quebec, H3G 2M6.   Ou send your wishes virtually by writing to the following  email  address created specifically for this reason : aedacn2015@gmail.com. The campaign will end: Monday November, 23 at 5pm.

 

 

By Mario Bard, ACN Canada

Translation by Amanda Bridget Griffin

 

Journey with ACN to the Holy Land

30.10.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Oliver Maksan, Holy Land

 JOURNEY WITH ACN is our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our website and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world and introducing you to various projects we have helped to bring into being together with our partners and ACN benefactors.

This week:  the Holy Land


 

When living stones become dead ones

For weeks now violence between Israelis and Palestinians has been shaking the Holy Land. Jerusalem in particular is again at the centre of the conflict.

In early September, as in the previous year, conflicts broke out around the Temple Mount. Palestinians accused Israel of wanting to grant Jews prayer rights and greater access to the Islamic sanctuary where the Jewish temple once stood. Israel vehemently denies this.

Even so, a wave of Palestinian terror attacks was set into motion which Israel fought fiercely against. A chain of violence and counter-violence began and has lasted for weeks claiming to date dozens of lives and leaving many injured on both sides. Fear and hatred are poisoning the relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

There are Christians living on both sides of the ISraeli Separation wall that separates the occipied territories from Israel.

Jerusalem’s Old City which holds Jewish, Christian and Muslim sacred sites is much emptier than usual. The shops in the Christian quarter are feeling the impact of the conflict. “The customers are staying away,” says Alfred, talking to Aid to the Church in Need as he stands behind the counter in his empty shop. “People are really afraid of coming here. A lot of pilgrim groups have already cancelled. And that’s just the beginning.” He is a Catholic from a Jerusalem family and runs a small shop selling devotional objects at the New Gate to the Old City. You can buy crucifixes, rosaries and icons in the “Saint Francis Store.” The picture of Pope Francis in the shop window invites customers to drop in.

The Holy Land is convulsing with terror and violence and impacts are felt by Christians

“Many Christians in Jerusalem live off the pilgrims. We pay a price for every wave of violence, every intifada and every war in Gaza. I go into debt every time to get through the subsequent slack period. And what’s more I’m not alone. I have to feed my family and pay the children’s school fees. I can’t go on like this for much longer,” he says in a pessimistic tone. “We Christians have nothing to do with the Temple Mount. But yet we’re still the ones who suffer from the dispute between Jews and Muslims. We are hit harder because we are a minority. We are caught in the middle.”

Father David Neuhaus also views the current developments with concern. The Israeli Jesuit, a Jew who converted to Catholicism, is in charge of pastoral care for the Hebrew-speaking Catholics in the Latin Partiarchate. Speaking about the conflicts suFeature David Neuhausrrounding the Haram Al Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, as the Muslims call the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, he explains: “I do not believe that the conflict is turning religious but rather that the national conflict is exploiting religion in order to make it an even more intractable and insoluble conflict. Trying to convince someone of the rightness of my cause is made all the stronger if I drag God onto my side.”

The Catholic Church, Father David continues, has a clear position on the conflict. “The hierarchy [of the Catholic Church] has repeatedly called for a return to sanity, to negotiations, to seeking for a way that allows Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians to live in peace. The hierarchy [of the Catholic Church], largely Arab in composition, is also very sensitive to the question of justice and the repressive nature of the occupation of Palestinian lands. However, at the same time violence is rejected in all its forms.”

FatFeature David Neuhausher David does not see the Christians in the Holy Land as being mere spectators to the conflict. “I do not think Christians are bystanders. On the contrary, Christians are part and parcel of the society in which they live.” There are Christians living in both societies, Palestinian and Israeli, Neuhaus explains. There are 120,000 Palestinian Christians in Israel, the Jesuit calculates, and about 50,000 in Palestine (including the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem). In Israeli Jewish society there live at least 40,000 Israeli Christians who are not Arab and there are about 150,000 migrants living and working in Jewish Israeli society. “Our vocation is not to be bystanders but rather to be leaven in the dough, bridges and a light. Although we only constitute about 2% of each of the two societies, Israeli and Palestinian, we are called to engage in our societies, promoting the values that we preach: justice, peace, reconciliation, […], etc. We must avoid the tendency to enclose ourselves in ghettos, losing contact with what is going on in mainstream society. Rather we must be at the forefront of the struggle for a society that embodies the values we believe in, finding allies in our societies who believe in the same values!”

Alfred in his small shop is determined to carry on as long as he can. “We Christians desire peace. And the best way for Christians from abroad to support us is to continue visiting the Holy Land. After all, if we Christians can no longer live here the Old City and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will become a museum. There will then no longer be any living stones, only dead ones.”

Original text by Oliver Maksan, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

ACN Feature Story – Rio de Janeiro

27.10.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Brazil, ACN International, Rodrigo Arantes/Oliver Maksan

Rio de Janeiro

“Being a priest in Iraq is tantamount to suicide”

Cover picture – Statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro floodlit in red light to draw attention to the modern Christian martyrs

From Sunday to Monday this week, the world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro was floodlit in red light – the aim being to draw attention to the plight of the Christian martyrs of today. This was the explanation given by the Brazilian national office of the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Brazil Rio de Janeiro 25 October 2015 Before Father Douglas (Chaldean Catholic parish priest of Mar Elia Parish in Ankawa in Iraq) a Mass at the Redeemer Chapel. He told to ACN: "You don't know my people, but my people know you because of the help that you give to us: houses, schools, food..." "To be an Iraq Christian is very difficult. To be an Iraq priest is a suicide mission"

(AED/ACN Guilherme Silva)

At the same time, the Brazilian office of ACN invited Father Douglas Bazi of the Chaldean Catholic Church to visit and speak to them. He was able to report first-hand on the situation of Christians in Iraq. “To be a Christian in Iraq is dangerous. To be a priest in Iraq is tantamount to suicide,” he told them. Father Douglas runs a centre for Christian refugees in the city of Erbil in northern Iraq. In summer last year (2014) more than 120,000 Christians were forced to flee the terrorism of the armed militias of the so-called “Islamic state” (ISIS) and seek refuge in the autonomous Kurdish-controlled region of northern Iraq.

Un homme présente le pain préparé dans un camps de réfugiés en Irak. Grâce au soutien des bienfaiteurs de l'AED.

A man holds out  bread prepared in an Iraqi refugee camp, thanks to the support of ACN benefactors.

To mark the occasion in Brazil, Father Douglas celebrated Holy Mass in the chapel that forms part of the complex of the Christ the Redeemer statue. He expressly thanked ACN for its support of his work. “You do not know my people,” he said, “but my people know you, because of the help you are giving us for our housing, schooling and food.”

 

To know more,visit our Brazilian colleagues’  ACN website  (in Portuguese).

For more information on Iraq – please see our latest article here.

 

 

Young Palestinians pray for peace in the Middle East

23.10.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Holy Land

Holy Land

Young Palestinians send out a call to pray for peace in the Middle East

Youth in Palestine will be gathering to answer the call of Pope Francis and will pray together this coming Saturday.   We invite you, our ACN benefactors to join in this initiative and to pray for peace in your parishes and homes along side our brothers and sisters.

“On Saturday, October 24, all parishes of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem will pray during an hour long for peace in the Middle East.  This initiative of the Christian Youth in Palestine is an answer to the call sent forth by Pope Francis, at the Angelus prayer time of Sunday October 18, 2015.

Since the beginning of the month of October, tension did not stop rising in the Holy Land, and the recent episodes of violence in Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus or Gaza are darkening yet further the sky of a Middle Eastern torn up by many conflicts.

Very concerned by the situation, Pope Francis, at the time of reciting the Angelus, last Sunday, sent forth a resounding call for peace in the Holy Land, exhorting “governments and citizens” to “carry out gestures of peace”.

This call was heard by the Palestinian Catholic Youth. Earlier in the week, at the time of the meeting of Young Christian Students, members decided to approach all parishes of the Patriarchate in Israel, Palestine and Jordan to hold a one hour prayer for peace.

This moment of prayer is open to everybody: to Christians for sure, but also to Jews and Muslims.  Fr Bashar Fawadleh, chaplain of the movement in Palestine, hopes that youth of each religion will join this initiative “for we pray and implore one God, a God of love, justice and hope”.

This moment of prayer will take place on the eve of the great feast day of Our Lady of Palestine, Queen of peace.  It is worth noting that many Palestinians will not be able to take part in the ritual, because of lack of permits by Israeli authorities.

Calixte Des Lauriers”

SOURCE OF TEXTE: http://en.lpj.org/2015/10/22/young-palestinians-call-to-pray-for-peace-in-the-middle-east/

ACN PRESS – ACN speaks to Archbishop Warda of Iraq

23.10.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PRESS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Oliver Maksan, Iraq, Middle East, Press Release

 

 

Iraq

“No one has to live in a tent anymore”

Montreal/Königstein, October 23, 2015 – More than a year after having fled and been driven out by the terrorist militia “Islamic State (ISIS),” Christians in Iraq no longer harbour the hope that they will be able to return to their homes anytime soon. This is what the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Matti Warda, said recently during a visit to the head office of the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

 

 

“The people are not fooling themselves by believing that the occupied regions can quickly be liberated. In the meantime, we as the church are trying to make it possible for them to stay in Iraq. When the people see the efforts the church is making on their behalf, they think twice about leaving.” In the summer of last year, more than 125,000 Christians fled to the autonomous Kurdish regions of Iraq after the “Islamic State” advanced like lightning into Mosul and the Nineveh Plains. The majority continue to live there as refugees.

 

 

The Church gives a humanitarian and pastoral response

In the meantime, Archbishop Warda has observed a considerable exodus of Christians from Iraq. “Last year we had 13,500 registered Christian refugee families in our archdiocese. Now there are only about 10,000 left. This means that more than 3,000 families have left Iraq.” News of the stream of refugees from the Middle East to Europe has long since also made the rounds among Iraqi Christians. “We feel the effects of this development in Europe acutely. Of course the people find out about this and believe that the gateway to Europe is now wide open.” However, the bishop said that up until now he has yet to notice an acceleration in the emigration from Iraq due to the events in Europe. “However, of course it does not make our work convincing the people to stay any easier.”

 

 

Trip to Iraq of ACN UK, May 2015

ACN supports children returning to school

According to Archbishop Warda, the main concern of the church is to offer humanitarian as well as pastoral aid. “Thanks to our partners, the humanitarian situation has in the meantime been stabilized. No one has to live in tents anymore, as they did last year. The majority is now living in caravans or in flats we have rented. Furthermore, with the help of Aid to the Church in Need, we were able to get eight schools up and running so that today, there are practically no children who are not receiving lessons. Naturally, things looked a lot different last year. Finally, our supply network for food is now running smoothly. Each family receives a packet from us each month.” However, the archbishop believes that more Christians would leave the country should the support from outside of the country wane.

 

 

Project trip to Iraq of Fr. Dr. Andrzej Halemba, Caroline van Pradelles (ACN France), LoÏc Bondu (ACN France)...Support from the Church enables youth take up hope

The archbishop emphasized that next to humanitarian aid, pastoral care plays a decisive role. “Just recently we held a Festival of Faith. Twelve hundred people took part. I was deeply moved by the stories the people told. Many young people spoke of the darkness they had been forced to pass through. After all, when they fled, they not only lost their homes, but also their hopes, joy, trust and dreams. However, when they saw that the church was with them, that priests and nuns stood by them, they took courage once more. Their faith returned. They may no longer have a house, but at least they have a living faith.”

However, despite this Archbishop Warda is certain that the number of Christians in Iraq will further decline. “The situation is dire. We as the church are doing what we can. However, I believe that, in the long term, it will be decisive that those that stay have a mission. We Christians of Iraq belong to this land. It is our job to build bridges, to live Christian values. It is my dream to also pray the Lord’s Prayer together with non-Christians. After all, this would be easy to do. What is decisive, however, is living it. The message of the Lord’s Prayer is that God’s love is for all people.”


Aid to the Church in Need
has been supporting the Christians in Iraq for many years. With the beginning of the Christian refugee crisis, it greatly intensified its commitment. Thus, more than 15 million dollars were approved for projects in 2014 and this year. This was primarily used to rent living quarters for the people, to build schools and to provide food.

 

Original text from ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey with ACN – Kazakhstan

16.10.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Kazakhstan

JOURNEY WITH ACN is our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our website and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world and introducing you to various projects we have helped to bring into being together with our partners and ACN benefactors.

This week:  Kazakhstan


 

Aid for the repair of a roof on a home for children 

The town of Kapshagay has a population of around 57,000 people. To situate you, it is a few hours drive away from the capital of Almaty. In 2001, an Italian priest established a sort of Catholic centre in Kapshagay. He built a church on the edge of the town and purchased a group of houses. A congregation of Sisters who then settled in the area, began taking in children in need who were living difficult family conditions. Gradually, a Catholic community grew around the centre, and today the number of people from the town attending Mass on Sundays has also continued to grow.

For the very first time in their lives, these children are experiencing what it is to be loved, secure and life in a more structured way. They can play, study, pray together, and sometimes enjoy beautiful excursions. Since the centre is close to a lake, they can also enjoy the beauty of nature right outside their door. This is a precious experience for these children, who until now have often known nothing but misery and chaos.

This is a precious experience for these children, who until now have often known nothing but misery and chaos.

The 60 or so children who are being cared for by the Sisters have been through some pretty tough times.   For example, before finding a safe haven with the Sisters, seven-year-old Ola was raped by older boys in her neighbourhood. Her father knew, but had ordered her to tell no one.  Twins Rima and Ina, also seven years old, told the Sisters, “Daddy chased mummy with an axe.” Little Ania lived on the streets before she came into the Sisters safe harbour.  In some cases, these children have lost their mothers, for others, the father may work miles away, or drink excessively,  perhaps one or both parents have simply abandoned them completely. In many of these sad cases, the children’s parents also live on the streets, and some are drug addicts.

Many of the Sister’s former proteges have already grown up and founded families of their own. They are still in contact with the centre and with the parish community, often helping out whenever and however they can.

donate

One of the six houses in which the children live with the Sisters is in urgent need of a new roof.  

ACN is providing $ 29,700 for this end.  Would you like to help with this or similar projects?

 

 

 

 

Journey with ACN – Uganda

02.10.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Journey with ACN, Uganda


JOURNEY WITH ACN is our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our website and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world and introducing you to various projects we have helped to bring into being together with our partners and ACN benefactors.

This week:  Uganda


Success Story: Mass Offerings for the priests teaching at the seminary in Ggaba

 

The tradition of making a Mass offering for the celebration of Holy Mass by a priest for a particular intention – for the soul of a departed person, for example – is an ancient one in the Church. The offering that is made by the individual believer to the priest for this purpose is in no sense a “payment” for a Mass, but rather a gesture of love and gratitude for the priest who through the words of consecration makes present the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the altar. At the same time, this gift is a form of material support for needy priests, who in many cases have no other source of income.

 

Those priests who teach in the seminaries of the Catholic Church are particularly grateful for these Mass offerings, since in many countries they do not even earn enough to support themselves and, unlike priests teaching in the parishes, do not have the community of the Catholic faithful to support them either. In Uganda, for example, whereas a university professor at a secular university will earn approximately 1,500 dollars a month, a priest lecturing in a seminary will receive just 150 dollars – barely enough to cover the most basic essentials.

 

A duty to support and guide

 

These priests, who are responsible for the formation of our future priests, have a heavy responsibility. Their work demands great care and a commitment that goes well beyond the mere conveying of knowledge. In addition to providing an academic formation they also have a duty to support and guide the seminarians in their human and spiritual formation. Therefore helping out in a parish where the faithful can help support them, in however modest a manner – is more often than not impossible. As a result, these priests engaged in the formation of the priests of the future are often heavily dependent on the Mass offerings received from abroad.

 

In Uganda the number of vocations continues to rise, and many of the seminaries are bursting at the seams. At the Saint Mary’s National Seminary in Ggaba, in the Archdiocese of Kampala, there are 16 priests engaged in teaching and ministering to the seminarians. We are helping them once again this year with Mass offerings – this time with a total of $28,500 – which means that each individual priest will receive $1,780 for the entire year.

 


 

 

Journey with ACN – Ukraine

21.09.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Journey with ACN, Ukraine

JOURNEY WITH ACN is our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our website and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world and introducing you to various projects we have helped to bring into being together with our partners and ACN benefactors.

This week:  Ukraine

Help for the renovation of the chapel of the Brothers of Saint Albert in Zaporyzhya

Auxiliary Bishop Msgr Jan Sobilo of the Latin-rite Catholic diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporyzhya comes originally from Poland. As a young priest, he had actually intended to stay for just a year in Ukraine in order to help out. That year has now turned into almost a quarter of a century.

Particularly close to Bishop Sobila’s heart are those people living on the fringes of society – the drug addicts and alcoholics. He has understood that it is not enough to simply help these people with a piece of bread, a bowl of soup and a little extra clothing. Instead they need spiritual and psychological support and counselling in order to help them break with their addiction. “So many of these young people used to come to our soup kitchen, and yet too many of them still come to an untimely end”, the bishop says. If they can only break with their drug addiction and find their way to God, then wonderful things can happen, he explains. So it was that Bishop Sobila was able to ordain a former drug addict to the priesthood. Today this man is responsible for the youth apostolate in the diocese.

UKRAINE / KHARKIV-ZAPORIZHZHYA-LAT 14/00138 Renovation of the monastery chapel of the Albertine Fathers in Zaporizhzhya: Construction aid for the renovation of the chapel of the Albertine Brothers at Zaporyzhzhya, who take care of homeless men. The photo Shows them in their bakery.

In Zaporyzhya there are two Albertine Brothers who care for the poor and homeless. Close to the cathedral they run a soup kitchen, to which more and more people are flocking, who cannot afford even one hot meal a day. Many are homeless; others are pensioners who, given their meagre pensions and the constantly rising prices, simply cannot make ends meet. The brothers also shelter some of the homeless in their own house. Many of these men, who have been living out on the streets for a long time, have health problems, especially with their legs and feet. They also need to address many different personal issues before they can find their way back to living a normal disciplined life in society. The Brothers of Saint Albert help them in this. They also offer the men the opportunity to learn the baker’s trade and at the same time, under expert guidance, to produce tasty and appealing bread. Often it is the case, once the initial external problems have been resolved, that the inner fears and pains now come to light. It is here that a great deal pastoral help and counsel are needed. And yet at the same time the brothers are often astonished at the abilities and even the human depths of these men who come to them for help. For example Leon, a young man staying with them, who has proved to be a gifted painter of religious images. It may even be that he has a vocation to the religious life.

The Brothers of Saint Albert are currently in the process of renovating their monastery. And the heart of this monastery is their chapel.

We are giving $6,000 towards the cost of renovating it – would you like to help with this or similar projects?

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