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Project of the Week

 

 ACN Success Story – Zambia

03.07.2019 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Project of the Week

ACN Success Story – Zambia

Renovation of the Saint Augustine’s Seminary

 

The landlocked state of Zambia in southern Africa is one of the more stable countries on the continent. Christians make up the overwhelming majority (90%) of its population of around 17 million people. However, only around one fifth of the population are Catholics, the majority belonging to a range of different Protestant communities.

The Catholic Church here is facing major challenges. In the past the life of the Church was directed above all by foreign missionaries, able to obtain support from their home countries. But today, it is the native African bishops and priests who are increasingly shouldering the responsibility.

Ensuring a pastoral presence and countering illusions

In many places the infrastructure is poor, the parishes cover vast areas and the Catholic faithful often widely scattered, therefore many more priests are needed to minister to them. At the same time, sectarian groups are very active in proselytizing, drawing away many of the faithful with simplistic messages of salvation and easy promises of health, wealth and material success, they successfully entice many people, including Catholics. They are successful above all where, owing to a lack of financial means and the vast distances, the pastoral outreach of the Church is not intensive enough to make people feel truly rooted and at home in the Catholic Church.

What the Church in Zambia needs above all, is more priests. But in order to train these priests, the appropriate infrastructure and facilities have to be available. In the Saint Augustine‘s Seminary in Kabwe almost 90 young men are training for the priesthood. But the seminary building, which dates back to the 1950s, had for some years now been in urgent need of renovation. There were cracks in the walls, falling ceiling tiles and roof panels, a hopelessly outdated plumbing system… All these things were making life here difficult and in some cases even dangerous. The toilet and sanitary facilities also needed urgent repair and renovation.

 

 

Thanks to the help of our generous benefactors, ACN was able to contribute $22,350.  The bathroom facilities were then properly refurbished and the rusting pipework replaced. The seminarians are delighted with the results and send their heartfelt thanks to all who have helped.


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ACN Project of the Week – Mass Offerings in Uruguay

27.03.2019 in Project of the Week, Uruguay

Uruguay

Mass Offerings for 20 priests in Tacuarembo

Although Latin America as a whole is described as a “Catholic continent,” Uruguay, the second smallest country in Latin America, in fact, has a long secular history.

In the 19th century, all public expression of religion was banned and banished to the private sphere. The secularist government of the day engaged in numerous deliberate provocations against the Catholic Church. For example, on Good Friday – a day of strict fasting and abstinence for Catholics – the government would deliberately offer free barbecues for all.

A strict separation between the Church and State has existed in the country since 1917 and formally enshrined in the Constitution. No religious festivals are acknowledged in the public calendar. So it is not surprising that not even half the population of 3.3 million people declare themselves Catholics today. As a result, the Church struggles to maintain itself without outside support. The statutory requirements imposed by the state for the maintenance of Church properties are extremely high. Meanwhile, most priests live on the bare minimum.

The diocese of Tacuarembo lies in the northern-central part of the country and covers an area of around 24,000 km². It has 20 priests, who minister to around 100,000 Catholic faithful in 16 far-flung parishes with a total of 85 churches and chapels and a number of different charitable institutions as well. The area is sparsely inhabited and the faithful live widely dispersed.

We are therefore planning to help these priests with Mass Offerings, for a total value of $17,970. This works out at just $900 per priest for an entire year. These priests will celebrate these Holy Masses for the intentions of those benefactors who have given them. Therefore, please know that your Mass Offerings are of enormous help and are grateful appreciated.

 

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A roof for a new church

10.01.2019 in Africa, Mali, Project of the Week

Mali

A roof for a new church

Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with an overwhelmingly Muslim population. However, until recent years Christians, Muslims and followers of traditional African religions continued to live peaceably together, as they had for centuries. However, this situation came to a bloody end in 2012 when war broke out in the northern part of the country, much of which lies within the Sahara Desert region. Tuareg rebels had formed an alliance with radical Islamists and sought to establish an independent Islamic state in this part of the country. Initially the jihadists gained control over the northern half and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee as a result.

But then in 2013, when the Islamists attempted to conquer the south of the country as well and turn the civil state into an Islamist theocracy, France and the UN intervened militarily in the conflict and rapidly defeated the Islamist rebels.

However, in practice Mali has been a divided country since 2013. A fact that has also impacted the lives of Catholics in the country, who today make up around 200,000 faithful in the midst of a total population of some 18 million.

Whereas in the north of the country, it is all but impossible for the Church to function normally, and the great majority of her structures there have been destroyed, the situation is somewhat better in the south of the country – although even here there are occasional violent assaults. Nevertheless, the Catholic community is even growing here, although almost all her new members are former animists, rather than Muslims.

In the south of the country, in the diocese of San, lies the very lively parish of Yasso, which is dedicated to Saint Therese of Lisieux. It has some 5 000 active faithful and includes around 40 villages. And the number of Catholics is growing steadily. So far they have only a small and somewhat temporary chapel, which is far too small for the community and at risk of collapsing when the rainy season comes. But now, they have been able to start work on a large and permanent church, big enough to accommodate 2 000 people. The walls are already standing, but they do not have the money for the roof. So they have turned to ACN for help, and we have promised them 72 000 dollars so that they can finally complete their church.

ACN Project of the Week in Bangladesh

24.10.2018 in Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Project of the Week

Bangladesh

Success Story: a church and community centre for the parish

The Catholic faithful in the parish of Nayanagar are delighted with their new church and parish centre, which – thanks to the generous help of our benefactors – this project which Catholics have dreamt of for years, and also organized collections for, despite their great poverty has finally been completed! It was not much, of course, but it was like the “widows mite,” as their parish priest writes. With the help of our benefactors, we were able to give a total of $120,800 and so finally enable them to realize their dream.

Sunday Mass sees anywhere from 3,000 and 3,500 people attending, high celebrations and holy days such as Christmas and Easter draw many more and even the weekday Masses are always well attended as well as religious instruction courses and a range of different children‘s and youth groups.

Help to complete the church community hall at De Mazenod Parish, Nayanagar, Dhaka

Located right at the heart of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, the parish continues to grow and grow as more people move to the regional capital (already 8 to 9 million inhabitants) from the surrounding rural areas in the hope of finding a better future.

The priests of the not only provide pastoral support for the faithful but also help the new rural migrants to find their feet in the city, ensuring that their children can attend school by providing medical care and supporting them in all their many needs.

 

In Bangladesh, Catholics represent only a tiny minority in a population that is 90% Muslim.  The faithful of the parish of Nayanagar are 80% indigenous, a number that well represents the total Christian presence in Bangladesh who coming from an ethnic minority. It is from this demographic that most of the new vocations come.

 

Father Ajit Victor Costa, the provincial delegate of the Oblate Fathers, has written to ACN on behalf of his confreres and of the Catholic faithful generally. “We sincerely appreciate the value of your love, your friendship and your warm-hearted kindness. Your prayers, sacrifices and financial support have been an enormous help to us in fulfilling our dream. Through you and together with you we have been deeply touched by the presence of the loving hands of God and your own wonderful generosity. We pray for all your benefactors and for all who have contributed.”

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ACN Project of the Week – A library for a Catholic centre in Egypt

16.08.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Eva-Maria Kolmann, egypt, Project of the Week

Egypt

Equipping the library in the Diakonia Development Center 

Sheraton-Heliopolis is the name of one of the newer suburbs of Cairo that did not even exist a few decades ago. Named after the original Sheraton hotel, close to the international airport, which was at first the only existing building there at the time, it is now a busy suburb of over 400,000 people.

 

The Catholic Church has established a pastoral centre here, named the Diakonia Development Center, to serve the various pastoral and social needs of the Catholic parish community. It is here that the children and young people of the Good Samaritan group also meet.

The plan is to establish a small library in the centre for the 150 or so children and young people who regularly come here, mainly to help them become more familiar with the Holy Scriptures. For it is especially important for them, as a religious minority, to have a sound knowledge of the Bible, since they are often asked questions and need to be able to respond in a coherent and clear way.

Sometimes the questions are put to them in a deliberately provocative or manipulative way, making it very important for these Christian children to deepen and extend their knowledge of the Scriptures from an early age, and especially to cultivate a good understanding of those passages in the Bible that are often used or abused by non-Christians to attack their faith.

 

Finally, it is very important for these young people and for their own personal development to be able to understand how God leads them and guides them by his Providence. In this way, they come to know Jesus Christ better and believe more deeply in his love. For as Saint Jerome wrote, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

 

ACN has promised $5,285 to furnish this library!

 

https://secure.acn-canada.org/donate/donation/#utm_source=MAIN_WEBSITE&utm_medium=DONATE_BUTTON&utm_campaign=REDIRECTS

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ACN Project of the Week : Success Story in the Philippines

19.07.2018 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Philippines, Project of the Week, Sisters

A Success Story in the Philippines

A vehicle for pastoral work among the indigenous peoples of the diocese of San Jose

 

For the past seven years, Sister Anita has been working among the indigenous peoples of the diocese of San Jose, supporting them with wise counsel and ministering to their needs. She looks after the children in the primary schools, making sure they have enough to eat, helping them with their studies and teaching them the Catholic faith. She helps and advises the women and organizes all kinds of different activities for the young people. “It is a joy and a blessing for me,” she says, speaking of her work.

 

She has to travel to visit the people in the villages where they live, and the distances in this mountainous region are considerable, making this journey a real problem. The only transport available which comes just twice a week called a “Jeepney” (a public minibus) travels through the various villages and back into the city, but it is impossibly overcrowded at all times.

 

People cram in, with their sacks of rice and cement and bulky cardboard boxes, and some passengers even have to sit on the roof. The journeys seem to take forever because at every stop there are things to be off-loaded and then un-loaded onto the minibus, as some passengers get off and new ones get on. If you miss one Jeepney, you have to wait three days for the next one.

 

This was making Sister Anita’s work extremely difficult to undertake, and so she turned to ACN for help.

 

Thanks to the generosity of our kind benefactors, we have been able to provide her with $37,750 for the purchase of a sturdy vehicle that can cope with the untarred roads and the rough and often muddy tracks.

 

Sister Anita is overjoyed and writes, “Your help is a blessing and a great support for our apostolate among the native peoples. Many thanks! We are so happy! And now we are all the more eager and determined to go out to the faithful and serve the Church.”

 

 

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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 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

Bangladesh

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.

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Kazakhstan : ACN’s Success Story of the week !

15.03.2018 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Journey with ACN, Julie Bourbeau, Julie Bourdeau, Project of the Week, Uncategorized

ACN’s Success Story in Kazakhstan

Furnishing run by religious sister’s home for abandoned and orphaned children

 

In the town of Kapshagay 60 or more children have found a new home in a centre run by Catholic nuns. For in practice they have no families of their own. All of them have experienced trauma and suffering at a very early age. For some their mother has died or has gone off with another man and abandoned them, the father is an alcoholic or works on a construction site, far from home, and no longer cares about his children. For others the parents themselves are living on the streets as alcoholics or drug addicts, or else they are in prison.

 

In 2001, in order to help children like these, an Italian priest set up a sort of Catholic Centre in Kapshagay. He built a church on the outskirts of this city of 57,000 souls and managed to purchase a couple of houses. This is where the sisters have come to live, taking in children facing all kinds of difficult circumstances. And gradually a Catholic community has built up around the centre. The number of people from the city now attending Mass is growing steadily.

Working with children who suffered of familial violence and other abuses: a vocation that also needs, with the heart, equipment. 

 

Here at the centre the children are able to experience a sense of loving care and security, often for the first time in their lives, within the framework of an ordered life, like in a real family. They play, learn and pray together, and from time to time are taken on nice outings. The centre is close to a lake, and so these little ones are able to experience the beauty of nature practically outside of their own front door. This is a precious experience for children who have experienced only poverty and disorder in their lives.

 

Many of these sisters’ former charges have now themselves grown up and founded their own families. They continue to remain close to the Centre and the Catholic community here and themselves do what they can to help.

 

Now the sisters have been able to open another house, and three more sisters have come to join the community in Kapshagay and help care for the children there. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we were able to give them $22,650 to buy furniture and electrical goods for the new house. Now the sisters have written to us, saying: “We are most grateful for your help. We are making every effort to do everything possible for these children and young people. May the Lord bless you and grant you his peace and joy!”

 

If you want to give for similar projects, please do so by clicking on the button Donate. THANK YOU! 

Kazakhstan: Equipment for the house of St. Clara for the establishment of the sisters of the Holy Family from Nazareth in Kapshagay, for their pastoral and social work with children.


 

ACN Project of the Week – DRC

11.01.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Africa, Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Dominican Fathers, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, MOTORIZATION, Project of the Week, TRANSPORTATION

Success Story: Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

A minibus for the Dominican Fathers in Kinshasa

 

The Dominican Fathers in Kinshasa are delighted to have received their new minibus. Their old vehicle finally gave up the ghost, irrevocably, while travelling on the road, some 210 km (130 miles) away from their home monastery. From that time onward, they were forced to cope somehow or other without a vehicle. But thanks to the generosity of our benefactors who have given $33,000, they have at last been able to purchase a new minibus.

 

The Dominican Order, which celebrated its 800 years of existence in 2016, has been in existence since 1912 in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Long ago, at that time, it was Belgian priests who arrived as missionaries, but now it is the home-grown Congolese religious who are following in their footsteps. The order is represented in four dioceses of the country and has six houses, with a total of 42 priests. The Dominican Fathers are involved in chaplaincy work with the military and the police, and they also care for former child soldiers, for orphans, the crippled and disabled and for victims of sexual violence. They are also involved in the running of five local parishes.

 

A minibus translates into more study time

Blessing of the minibus offered by the benfactors of Aid to the Church in Need, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are many new vocations. Currently there are 17 students, six novices and eight pre-novices who are preparing to commit themselves one day fully to the order through their solemn vows. Two young men have already been ordained to the diaconate in fact, and are now looking forward to their ordination as priests.

The new minibus is very important to the Dominicans for the effective realization of their many different activities. However, its most important use is for the young men who are pursuing their studies. For one of the two universities where these students are training is around 10 miles (15 km) away from the Dominican monastery, and public transport in the 13 million-strong (new statistics show 17 million!) city of Kinshasa is inadequate and unreliable.

As a result, the students found it almost impossible to arrive punctually and reliably for their studies, and on top of this they were in a constant state of near exhaustion, having been forced to waste a great deal of time that they should have been able to devote to their studies and to their monastic life.

Father Albert Akora Kanika writes, “Thanks to the new vehicle, our students are exposed to fewer dangers on the roads; they are healthier and happier and can pursue their studies better and more regularly – and above all take part in the life of the monastery while looking to achieve better grades in their studies.”

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