ACN Project of the Week – Bolivia: Supporting 27 religious living at a 4,000-meter altitude

13.07.2020 in ACN PROJECTS, Bolivia, Sisters, SUBSISTENCE

ACN Project of the Week – Bolivia

Supporting 27 religious living at a 4,000-meter altitude

High up in the Andes, at an altitude of around 4000 m above sea level, lies the diocese of Oruro. Covering an area of nearly 53,600 km², it is larger than some of the smaller European countries, such as the Netherlands for example. Yet it is sparsely populated, with just around half a million people, at least half of whom live in the town of Oruro itself.

COVID-19: Teresianas Sisters distributing food to those in need

Needless to say the 43 parishes of the diocese cover vast and often inaccessible regions. Consequently, the work of the religious Sisters in ministering to the Catholic faithful is of the greatest importance engaged as they are in proclaiming the faith, catechesis, the youth apostolate and spiritual accompaniment. Not only this, but they are often the only ones who are helping the people with their concrete, day-to-day needs – especially in the area of healthcare and education, these religious Sisters make a huge contribution. In addition, they run soup kitchens for the poor.

But this selfless work of service comes at a heavy price for the Sisters. The cold, the rigours of the high altitude, the difficult and often dangerous roads, the deserted landscape and the difficult social environment – makes for a reality that is difficult to endure. That said, the sisters know well that their help and support are urgently needed and so they continue their work, for sheer love of God.  And receive no payment for this pastoral care.

Bishop of the diocese, Msgr. Krzysztof Bialasik, cannot speak highly enough of the wonderful work the Sisters are doing in his diocese. But since it is also very poor, he has asked us for help for the support of 27 religious Sisters belonging to 9 different congregations.

We have promised him $21,359

Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

ACN Project of the Week: Pastoral summer activities for children in Egypt

18.06.2020 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Pastoral work, Youth Apostolate


Pastoral summer activities in Alexandria

by ACN Projects Department International
Adapted by Amanda Griffin, ACN Canada
Published online June 17, 2020

In Alexandria, a city founded over 2,000 years ago and home of a new library recalling the mythical and legendary institution of Antiquity – 290 children and young people in Alexandria have been looking forward to what this summer has in store.

In fact, for the months of June to September, the Coptic Catholic (diocese) of Alexandria has organized a variety of interesting activities for their summer program for young people of all in ages to take part in at the parish church of El-Khsou.

From primary school to university age, those participating will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of their faith, gain a better knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, enjoy the comaraderie with others of their own age and experience what it means to be a part of the universal Catholic Church, when in their regular context in Egypt, Catholics normally see themselves as a tiny minority within the larger Egyptian society. Pictures from last year’s event show just how much joy these kids experienced!


Adapting programs for online use

But just like here at home, this year the coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of all organized summer activities for kids. However, the organizers put on their thinking caps and have come up with some resourceful and inventive ideas to make sure they don’t miss out entirely on the program by adapting their activities to an online format.

ACN is supporting the diocese with its summer program with $6,750.


Are you inspired by this project? To give and make this, or a another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.



17.06.2020 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS

PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

Aid to the Church in Need – 2019 Report
Praying, informing and giving, more essential than ever before!

by ACN  International
Adapted by ACN Canada
Published online June 17, 2020

Königstein-im-Taunus-Montreal, Wednesday June 17, 2020 – Close to 160 million dollars raised by Aid to the Church in Need last year.


With its 23 national offices and over 333,000 benefactors worldwide, the international pontifical charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), collected over $157.95 million in donations for persecuted Christians in need around the world in 2019, maintaining roughly the same level as in 2018.  To this is added a balance of $7.58 million carried over from the previous year, making it a total of $165.2 million, allowing for the funding of the total ensemble of activities for the international organization. Of this total, $132.8 million funded projects directly, the balance being divided among administrative costs, fundraising activities and information work.


Senegal : a Dominican Sister of the Immaculate Conception in Diassap. We support her community so they can concentrate on their work of helping young people.

In Canada, a modest player, although recognized year after year as a vital international organization, 5,000 benefactors contributed to the collecting $1.9 million, an amount that provided the financing for several programs, including urgent needs, mass offerings, and the special ‘Drop of Milk’ project in Syria.


“It is a tremendous challenge to continue, year after year, to speak about our brothers and sisters in the faith who are living in situations of great distress, whether because of religious persecution or material poverty,” explains Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of ACN Canada.  “I rejoice in the fact that more and more people are joining in solidarity, the younger generation in particular.”  In that respect, in Alberta, elementary school students have been learning about the issue of religious discrimination and persecution for the last two years. “They are impressive!” rejoices Mrs. Lalonde.


“Incidentally, with the COVID-19 pandemic, forms of discrimination and persecution have not taken a break,” she explains.  “So, along with continuing to support these Churches as we usually do, we help them to meet the needs of their community in this time of pandemic.  Pakistan is a sad example, where some Imams have called for a stop to helping the Christians affected by the effects of confinement.  So we were there,” relates Mrs. Lalonde, who relates that $7.5 million have already been dispatched by ACN to different corners of the world. “Support that will continue,” she assures.


Today, ACN estimates there are some 200 million Christians around the world who are unable to practice their faith freely, and there are over 80 countries in the world where the fundamental right to religious freedom is not guaranteed. At this moment in time, Christians are persecuted, oppressed or actively discriminated against in over 40 different countries.  In 2019, ACN continued to give voice to Christians experiencing persecution from institutions such as the UN and the European Union.


In Ukraine, children pray the Rosary for the International prayer campaign – One Million Children pray the Rosary

Support in over a third of all dioceses worldwide

With the additional help of some $7.28 million in donations carried forward from previous years, the charity was able to fund activities for a total of $165.2 million. Some 80.4% of these – or approximately $132.8 million – were spent on the three areas regarded by the charity as the main “pillars” of its mission: direct financial support via various aid projects, providing information about the situation of Christians in different countries, and encouraging Christians to pray for their suffering brethren.


Altogether, the charity supported 5,230 projects – an increase of 211 from 2018 – providing assistance for a wide range of different needs in 139 countries, above all in Africa and the Middle East, for a total value of $112.7 million benefitting 1,162 different dioceses, over one third of all the Catholic dioceses in the world.


Once again, Africa was the region in which most of ACN’s projects were located, with 29.6%, or almost a third, of the project funds allocated, making possible a total of 1,766 projects. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), owing to its vast size of over 2 million km² and the grave conflicts it is suffering, including international indifference, was the single country in Africa in which the greatest number of projects were realized in 2019, and the third worldwide. Here ACN funded 268 projects to a total of $4.9 million.


And, some 22.1% of the project aid allocated went to the support of the Christian minorities whose existence is threatened in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity. In Syria, which is still suffering from the terrible civil war, ACN funded 132 projects for a total of almost $11.3 million, for the most part focused on basic emergency and survival aid. The other major beneficiary was Iraq where, following the rebuilding of over 6,000 homes in previous years, a new phase has begun for the reconstruction of places of worship and monasteries. Among the 50 major projects approved by the charity, for a total of $8.3 million in Iraq, was the rebuilding of the Al-Tahira cathedral in Qaraqosh, the largest Christian church in Iraq.


Syria : a family says ‘Thank you !’ to benefactors


Another country affected by warfare and grave economic poverty, yet at the same time spiritually rich, is Ukraine. This has been the priority country for ACN in Eastern Europe, with a total of almost 300 projects and over $5.9 million allocated in funding in 2019.


In Latin America, Venezuela has become the country in receipt of the most aid, after Brazil. Here, ACN funded 108 projects providing vital support for the Church in Venezuela and its people, for many of them the sole support in a country suffering from a profound political and economic crisis, social upheaval and the almost total lack of healthcare provision. Similarly in Asia, ACN’s priority has included aid for Pakistan and India, where Islamic religious fanaticism in the one, and extreme Hindu fundamentalism in the other, are bringing daily discrimination and danger to the ordinary lives of the Christian minorities there.


Venezuela: The Catholic Church stays one of the only institution to care for the population, on spiritual and material matters, in the midst of social, economical and political crisis with no precedent.


Outside of the geographical context, ACN has also supplied aid in the form of 1,378,635 Mass Offerings, which were celebrated in 2019 for the intentions of its benefactors representing some 15.9% of total donations. This has allowed the charity to support 40,096 priests – roughly one in every ten around the world. Most of the stipends were used not simply for the support of the priests themselves, but also for the benefit of the people by supporting their pastoral and social work.


For more information – please visit ACN Canada’s website: acn-canada.org.

+Read the Report

Project of the Week in Ethiopia – Helping a youth and family apostolate in the Horn of Africa

03.06.2020 in ACN Intl, ACN PROJECTS, Ethiopia, Pastoral aid, Pastoral work



Helping a youth and family apostolate in the Horn of Africa

by ACN Projects Department International
Adapted by Amanda Griffin, ACN Canada
Published online June 3, 2020

Sitting in the east of the continent, on the Horn of Africa, is Ethiopia—a country filled with contradictions. On the one hand, the country is showing strong economic growth, yet there is widespread deep poverty. Within the national territory there are around 80 different ethnic groups, with widely differing cultures and languages. Some 58% of the 100 million or so population are Orthodox Christians of the Ethiopian rite. Catholics make up a bare 2% of the population, although the Catholic Church maintains many schools, kindergartens and social care centres.


For instance, the Salesians of Don Bosco are providing important services in five different regions of Ethiopia. The congregation has been present in Ethiopia since 1975 and particularly engaged in work to help disadvantaged young people, such as street children, by providing them with safe refuge support, education them and various forms of vocational training.


The parish of Our Lady of Help to Christians in Adwa, located in the northern regional state of Tigray, was established in 1990 and is run today by the Salesians. It serves a community of around 220 Catholic faithful, most of whom live hand to mouth. The average monthly income most families earn is equivalent to between 35 and 70 US dollars, which is scarcely enough for their survival and inevitably, as poverty does, leads to many secondary problems, therefore there is also a tremendous need for many kinds of support.


The Salesians base their work upon three main pillars—helping children, young people and families.

This is crucial work.  ACN is proposing to help with a contribution of $22,312 for this current year.


Will you help?

Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

Cuba: Mass Offerings for the 32 priests in Santiago de Cuba

21.05.2020 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Cuba

ACN Project of the Week: Cuba

Mass Offerings for the 32 priests in Santiago de Cuba

Info from ACN International Projects Department
Posted online May 21 , 2020


Every year, thanks to the Mass offerings from our benefactors, ACN has been in a position to support around 40,000 needy priests around the world. Among them, 34 priests in the Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba – for the profound economic crisis affecting the Cuban population has also had a painful impact on the Church. The ordinary faithful are generally too poor to support their priests, or the various activities in the parishes.


It is an ancient tradition in the Catholic Church to ask a priest to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a particular intention, or for the soul of a departed loved one. The offering, or stipend given to the priest by the individual concerned is in no sense to be seen as ‘payment’, but is instead a gesture of love and gratitude and support for the priest who, again makes present the gift, freely given, by Jesus Christ on the altar through the words of Consecration.


For priests living in many of the poorest countries of the world such Mass offerings are often a vital source of support for their material survival. These priests receive no salary or regular remuneration. The faithful themselves are often too poor to support them, making these Mass offerings the only means of support for these pastors – means which they also generously share with the needy entrusted to their care, who come knocking at their door. For in many such countries the faithful turn to their priests for everything, seeking their help in every need, including their material needs.


The priest is seen as a father and a shepherd and is expected not only to comfort souls but to provide the people with food, medicines, clothing, schooling for their children and vocational training for the young. The people look with hope towards their priests.

We are consequently proposing to provide Mass offerings for these 32 priests of the diocese of Santiago, to a total value of $16,200 – or just $506 to support one priest for the entire year.


Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

ACN Success Story – India: Ten mopeds to support pastoral work in Indian islands


ACN Success Story:  India

Ten mopeds to support pastoral work in Indian islands

By ACN International projects department, adapted by the Canadian office
Published online May 6, 2020

The Andaman and Nicobar islands are a chain of some 572 islands in the Indian Ocean belonging to the Indian union, but with only 37 actually inhabited.

Even on the inhabited islands, over one third of the area is a rainforest reserve. They are the homelands of many different indigenous tribes , including some entirely isolated with almost no contact with the outside world. Since the 1980s, the population on these islands has been growing as a result of migration from the Indian mainland. Today the total population is approximately 380,000 people – one third of whom live in the capital, Port Blair.

Construction of St. Patrick’s Church at Radhanagar, Diglipur Parish, Mayabunder Dt, North Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Inauguration of the church with Bishop Aleixo das Neves Dias

The Catholic diocese of Port Blair has approximately 34,000 Catholics, almost all are Nicobarese. The 16 parishes of the diocese are scattered across several islands, and there are over 500 small Christian communities. Travel between islands, requires boats; and on the islands themselves, however, what roads there are, are long and difficult to negotiate. Almost none of their priests parishes have a car, and the old bicycles and mopeds that are commonly used, take a heavy battering from the rough roads and do not last long.


And so, last year the diocesan administrator asked ACN for help to purchase 10 new mopeds for pastoral work. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we were able to respond quickly with a donation of $13,500, and the mopeds have now been purchased. Now the priests have an easier time reaching the Catholic faithful in the scattered villages of these remote islands.

The ten priests who have benefited from these new mopeds have expressed their heartfelt gratitude, and the people are happy too. For thanks to your help, the diocese can now intensify its youth outreach, and generally have an easier time reaching the Catholic faithful on a more frequent basis.

Our heartfelt thanks to all our benefactors!


Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

ACN Project of the Week: Help to complete the new church in Egypt



Help for the completion of a new church and community centre in Abnee Baitak


Info from ACN International Projects Department
Poste online April 23, 2020

Abnee Baitak is a new satellite suburb of the town of Madinat as-Sadis min Uktubar, the “Town of the 6th of October,” itself, a relatively new satellite town close to the capital, Cairo. Abnee Baitak was built by the Egyptian government above all in order to provide living space for young families.

What this new suburb still lacks however, is a Catholic church. The nearest Catholic church is over 20 km away.

In 2015 the Egyptian Prime Minister granted a building permit for the construction of the Catholic Church here. Since it is far from easy to obtain such permits in Egypt, work began immediately on its construction. ACN helped at the time with $45,000 and now the building work on the new church and attached community centre for the various pastoral and social activities of the parish is well advanced.

In order to complete the work as quickly as possible, we have received another request and we are stepping in again with a further contribution of $45,000.

Thank you so much for your help in completing this project!

Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

COVID-19: How are ACN Project Partners coping in Mali?

20.04.2020 in ACN PROJECTS, Africa, By Annie Desrosiers, Mali

COVID-19:  How are our project partners coping in Mali?


The impact of the pandemic in developing countries is very significant.  But despite this – they are thinking of us.  Here are some difficult stories collected by ACN in the diocese of Segou, that are coloured by hope and faith in God in Mali.

“Everyone is aware of what is happening around the world today. How will end 2020? Who can answer? GOD ALONE. Yes, God alone can answer. Coronavirus disease is very real in Mali today. 144 cases have been reported, 13 have died (press release from the Ministry of Health on April 16) … I think that the impact on the population will be enormous, especially in poor countries. Here, churches are closed, unnecessary travel is prohibited. The curfew is too heavy for small traders. Money is increasingly scarce, income-generating activities are reduced. I think it’s hard all over the world.  At Easter, we were unable to baptize our catechumens. We will do it when the churches will be open again. However, the triduum was celebrated in small groups. I celebrated at the postulate of the Sisters Servants of the Sacred Heart in Ségou. At each celebration, we were about twenty people. We hope that coronavirus disease will soon be overcome.”

Our donations are fundamental in these unprecedented conditions, to support disadvantaged and suffering communities.

Thank you for giving to the Church in need.



ACN PROJECT OF THE WEEK – Help for the formation of seminarians of a new spiritual community in Brazil

15.04.2020 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS


Help for the formation of seminarians of a new spiritual community

By ACN International Projects Department,
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada
Published on the web April 15, 2020


The Opus Mariae community (known in Brazil as Eis aí tua mãe – Obra de Maria) was founded in Brazil in 1990 and now numbers around 3350 members worldwide, from all walks of life, including priests, deacons, consecrated religious, married couples and single people. Together, they  form one big family!

The community has now spread to 7 different Latin American countries, 22 African countries, to Israel and Palestine as well as in Europe to Italy and Portugal. One of the community’s  missions involves organizing pilgrimages for thousands of participants to visit religious shrines all over the world. They  also organize  congresses, retreats and concerts in the service of evangelization; active in the media apostolate and the youth and vocations apostolate. there are also  social work projects geared towards, among other things, people suffering from   addictions.


Fruits of the community

A particularly attractive feature of this community’s work is the growing number of priestly vocations it has produced. Currently there are 50 young men from the community training for the priesthood in the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife. They include young men from Brazil and from the African countries of Togo, Benin and Mozambique.

The leaders of the community have turned to us for help to cover the cost of the formation of these seminarians from this still very young community, Benefactors donations will help  to pay for their room and board along with study fees.

ACN has already helped in the past, with $123,000 dollars of support for the formation of 23 seminarians. We are planning to help again this year.  Would you like to help?

Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

ACN Project of the Week : Ukraine

31.03.2020 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Ukraine

ACN Project of the Week in Ukraine

Help needed to complete a parish centre in Voyutychi

By ACN International Projects Department
Published online in Canada March 31, 2020

The Church in Ukraine still suffers to this day from the consequences of Soviet communist persecution. Many of the Church properties that were confiscated by the communist regime have still not been returned to this day; others have been returned, but in pitiful condition. Repairs and restoration of badly damaged are possible, but only a little at a time. And in many cases total replacements of church buildings are required.

Following political changes, the Latin-rite Catholic parish of Saint Katharine of Alexandria was reopened in Voyutychi, West Ukraine, within the Lviv administrative district. It has been a long journey to completely restore this church and =the presbytery, was in such poor condition that it could only be demolished. To this day, the priests have to live in cramped and unsuitable conditions above the sacristy of the church – there is nowhere else for them to live – nor is there any suitable place for the many and varied activities of this lively parish community serving148 families. Until now all activities – the children’s and youth groups, the altar servers’ group, the elderly people‘s club, the Legion of Mary, the parish choir and many others, have had to cope with inadequate conditions, which is of course hampering their work over the long term.


It was therefore decided to build a new parish centre that could provide living accommodations for two priests and furnish the necessary space for the various different groups to conduct all their activities.


Construction has already begun! The parish priest, Father Victor Palczynski, has asked for our help. We are making a contribution of $15,000 for the building to be readied for use.


Thank you for donating!

Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

Help needed to complete a parish centre in Voyutychi, Ukraine