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Aid to refugees

 

ACN’s Project of the Week – Lebanon – To help more than the body

11.04.2018 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Aid to refugees, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Emergency Aid, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Lebanon, Middle East, Refugees, Syria

ACN’s Project of the Week – Lebanon

To help more than the body

For many people in Lebanon one hot meal a day is by no means something to be taken for granted. In the town of Zaleh the poverty is particularly acute. The town is not far from the Syrian border, and as a result many refugees have ended up here, having left all their possessions behind in Syria. And even among the local Lebanese population there are many needy people, especially among the elderly and the children whom nobody seems to be caring for.

 

This was the reason why the Melkite Greek Catholic Church decided to set up the St. John the Merciful Table in 2015 to help these people, among other things by providing a regular hot meal, or “food table”. It is named after the seventh century Saint John the Merciful – and not by chance, since St. John was renowned for his exceptional love for the poor. Wherever he saw need, he worked with all his energies and all his resources to alleviate it. When he finally became Patriarch of Alexandria he was feeding some 7,900 poor people on a daily basis. He died around the year 619 and is revered as a saint both by Catholics and by Orthodox Christians.

Zahle, Lebanon, Syrian refugees: “All of us feel the love of Jesus, our Saviour in this way. It is a sign of his love for us all, one that helps to heal every wound”, says one of the women helpers.

Today the outreach ministry provides around a thousand people with a hot meal each day, an increase of 400 people compared to the previous year. Many Syrian refugees are also involved, helping in the kitchens, so that they can also have the opportunity to earn a living. There is a dietary assistant from a Catholic hospital in the town who helps to ensure that the food is nutritionally well-balanced and healthy.

 

But of course, it is not merely about food for the body but also about communicating the love of God and human warmth and affection to those in need. Many are quite alone. The St. John the Merciful table has become a place for them to gather, not only to eat, but also to talk with other people, share their warmth and a smile and a sympathetic ear to listen to their concerns. Prayers are said before every meal and a hymn is sung, underlining the fact that this is above all about the care of souls. It is important for everyone to experience this spiritual dimension. “All of us feel the love of Jesus, our Saviour in this way. It is a sign of his love for us all, one that helps to heal every wound”, says one of the women helpers.

For the elderly and sick, who cannot get out of their homes, the food is brought to them by volunteers.


Aid to the Church in Need has been supporting this project ever since it began. This year we will be giving 1,178,000 for the coming year.

 

If you want to give for this project or one similar,
click on the button below

Thank you!

 

St. John the Merciful Table: more than food, but a place where spiritual life can also be feed.                                                                                                                                                                


 

Central African Republic – The Church fears a massacre in Bangassou

25.01.2018 in ACN Chile, Africa, Aid to refugees, by Loreto Prado, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Central African Republic (CAR), International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Prayer

Central African Republic –
The Church fears a massacre in Bangassou

 

From his place in hiding, together with other priests, Father Yovane Cox, a Chilean missionary in the Central African Republic, has contacted the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) with an urgent plea for our prayers. “The cathedral in Bangassou is being attacked”, he told us last Friday 19 January. “The situation is quite critical, because this attack had already been foretold, and yet the UN forces in charge of security here paid no attention to what people told them. It seems almost as though they want to see a massacre here in the cathedral, and in the area where the Muslims are being sheltered”, he told us.

 

Already in May 2017 some 2000 Muslims took refuge in the grounds of the diocesan minor seminary of the Catholic Church (around 200 metres from the cathedral), seeking protection. Today a little under 1000 are still sheltering there. “All around this place there are armed men on the prowl, hoping that one of the Muslims will emerge, so that they can kill him”, Father Yovane explained, at the same time speaking of the inhuman conditions in which they are living. “Some of the Muslims try to leave the site to go and look for firewood, while others do so in order to scavenge in the houses that have been abandoned around the area (in search of food they need to survive on)”, he explained. Yesterday, one of these Muslims was caught by the anti-balakas, (the anti-Muslim rebel gang) and murdered him on the spot. This caused great alarm among the Muslims who are still sheltering in the grounds of the Catholic Church. According to Father Yovane, if it had not been for the contingent of Cameroonian soldiers, who intervened, the situation would have been still more critical.

Central African Republic
Muslim refugees next to the Cathedral in Bangassou.

 

The priests in the Catholic mission are watching helplessly, expecting that at any moment the anti-balakas may invade the camp, intending to kill the Muslims who have taken refuge there. And with no one intervening to prevent them. “By the silence of the state authorities and the inaction of the UN forces in not wanting to move the few Muslims still left on this site, they are simply inviting a confrontation between the two groups and a resulting bloodbath. What we are sounding the alarm about and what we are asking them to do is to please relocate them from this site, because it is the only way of saving those still remaining here, who are for the most part women and children”, the Chilean priest told ACN.

 

United Nations: accused of inaction

 

Nine months have now passed since the truce between the antibalakas and the Muslims broke down. This country, already marked by a history of violence and warfare, is today living through one of its most difficult chapters. “We are in a situation in which nobody is in control – neither the government, nor the United Nations nor the local authorities, and still less we ourselves in the Catholic Church” Father Yovane explained, adding that the Church is the only organisation that has remained here to help. “There are no other organisations, most of them have left. The last to do so wasDoctors Without Borders.”

 

When we asked him about the situation of the Christians in the diocese, he explained that “the Christians are for the most part living in hiding in their villages or in the suburbs. They are too frightened to gather in the churches or in the cathedral. When we celebrate Holy Mass on Sundays those who attend number no more than 15 or so. We priests are limited in what we can do and our pastoral work is at a standstill. Some of the clergy are living in the capital and the rest are limited in our activities.” This is due to the deep gulf between the positions of the radical Muslims, who see the Catholic Church as complicit (with the anti-balakas), and the anti-balakas themselves, who see the Church as a traitor for protecting the Muslims and giving them shelter. “There is a mutual incomprehension, a very deep antagonism, and the Church finds herself caught in the middle between them, a perfect target for anybody who has lost control of the situation”, Father Yovane tells us unhappily.

Central African Republic
Father Yovane Cox, a Chilean missionary, before the start of the conflict.

 

Request for prayers

 

At the present time only two of the eight parishes in the diocese are still open and most of the priests are living at the cathedral in Bangassou for their own security. The violence in the region has forced them to close down all the schools of the diocese. “We cannot gather the children in the schools, knowing that it would be immensely difficult to assure their safety in the classrooms”, the Chilean priest explains. For him this has meant postponing his dream of opening a new school in his own parish of Bema, and educating 400 children.

Central African Republic
Father Yovane Cox, a Chilean missionary in the Central African Republic – now in Bangassou.

 

Above all he is calling on us to pray. “We know that our only security is that which comes to us from God and it is in Him that we place our entire lives and our trust”, he tells us. “We are conscious that the Church in the diocese of Bangassou is in the midst of a fight between men, trying to bring a little peace, though her voice is scarcely being heard.” Nevertheless, he still thanks ACN “for being the voice of those whom nobody listens to, the voice of those who have been forgotten…”

 

From 2014 to 2016 the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need supported the Catholic church
in the Central African Republic with 3,9 million dollars. 

Text: Loreto Prado, ACN-Chile
Adaptation: ACN-Canada.

ACN News – Facilitating the return of Christians to the Nineveh Plains

30.09.2017 in Abducted Clergy and Religious, ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, ACN SPECIAL SERIES, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Aide à l’Église en détresse., By Maria Lozano, Chaldean Catholic, CONSTRUCTION, Iraq

Rome /Iraq

“Facilitate their return and guarantee their protection”

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin calls for the respect of the rights of Christians in Iraq.

The Cardinal was speaking at a conference organized by the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on Thursday 28 September in Rome to support the return of the Iraqi Christians to their former homes in the Nineveh plains. This is a major concern for the Holy See which, as Cardinal Parolin emphasized, “has missed no opportunity to speak out on behalf of these Christians, reiterating on numerous occasions the necessity of facilitating their return and ensuring adequate measures of protection and respect for their rights.”

The Secretary of State expressed his gratitude for “the support provided by ACN in the three years since the ISIS invasion, which has enabled the many uprooted Christian families to endure this situation with dignity and in security.” At the same time, however, he emphasized that although “much has been done, yet much remains to be done” and called for support for the ACN sponsored reconstruction program “Return to the Roots”, showing the charity that “this so-called ‘Marshall Plan’ for the Plains of Nineveh, is yet another sign of the concern you have shown, with a sense of urgency and with remarkable efficiency and organization.”

Rome, Italy 27.09.2017
Dinner before the Conference “Return to the roots: Christians in the Nineveh Plains” hosted by Aid to this Church in Need starts the next morning – His Beatitude Louis Raphaël I Sako (Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and the Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church from Iraq)

A genocide, beyond any doubt

Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, another of the keynote speakers at the conference, also denounced the “genocide” of the Christians in Iraq, whose numbers have declined in recent years from 1.5 million people to less than 500,000:  “The real reason behind this kind of discrimination is the hatred of the radical Muslim persecutors towards the Christians, which has driven them to wipe away our heritage, destroy our homes and even to remove us from the memory of Iraqi history,” he said, adding, “This is genocide by all possible means.” Answering the question as to how the international community can prevent this terrible tragedy from continuing, Patriarch Sako said: “We urge those in charge to be seriously open-minded. The United States of America especially bears a moral responsibility to ‘diagnose’ the reality of what is happening in Iraq and the region,” he added. The Chaldean Patriarch highlighted five points for immediate action – educational support, political support, security and stabilization of the liberated areas, humanitarian assistance and defeating fundamentalism and terrorism.

For his part the Apostolic Nuncio in Jordan and Iraq, Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin (pictured above) , outlined the “complex situation of the region,” and mentioned, as an example,  “the referendum being pursued by President Masoud Barzani of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, which took place on Monday 25 September”. The archbishop recalled the importance of the Christians in the region and called on all people to “commit themselves for the protection of the religious minorities and at the same terms sponsor aid for development and the promotion of peace.” This would help “get to the root of the situation and help to prevent the crisis of emigration,” he said.

 

The conference, which took place 27 – 28 September in Rome, was “a call to the international community – politicians, entrepreneurs, ambassadors and other organisations – at a crucial moment in time in order to make possible the return of the Christians to their ancestral homes,” according to Philipp Ozores, (photo above) the Secretary General of ACN. “Now is the time to help,” he said. “We are working with benefactors around the world to support our Iraqi brothers and sisters and keep their hope alive. But action of governments is indispensable in order to bring the reconstruction to a larger scale and guarantee the rights of the Christians. We are conscious that Iraq is still in a difficult moment. But we are certain that if we do not help the Christians in Iraq today, there will be no need to even talk of this topic tomorrow.”

The Canadian office of the international charity will be launching a fundraising and awareness raising campaign for its benefactors and the public at large in November to facilitate the reconstruction of the Nineveh Plain, essential to the survival or Iraqi Christians.

 

Text by Maria Lozano, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

 


 

 

 

 

ACN Project of the Week – Ethiopia

09.08.2017 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Africa, Aid to refugees, Ethiopia, EVANGILIZATION, MOTORIZATION, Project of the Week

 

Ethiopia

Bicycles for 30 catechists in Gambella

 

The apostolic vicariate of Gambella lies in the extreme west of Ethiopia, on the frontier with South Sudan. It is a remote and underdeveloped region where there is widespread poverty.

 

Therefore, there are recurrent and intermittent inter-tribal conflicts mainly between the more settled, farming tribes and the nomadic herders. The cattle eat the farmers’ crops, and the farmers are taking away the traditional grazing lands of the herders. In this conflict over scarce resources, there are frequent and violent clashes. Recently, there have also been clashes between the local population and refugees of the Nuer tribes from South Sudan.

 

According to the UNHCR, there are over 330,000 refugees from South Sudan in the area at present – almost as many people as the existing population of Gambella state. In early 2016 in particular, there was violent unrest here, with numerous deaths. The Catholic Church is working hard for peace and reconciliation. It is the only force in this region capable of combating the violence, hatred and rising anger in this volatile region of the world.

The people of Gambella thirst for the sacraments and especially to hear the Word of God for the first time.

 

Announcing the Good News in more villages!

There are many people in this corner of Ethiopia, a newly evangelized region, who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. Many of them are open to the faith, well disposed to the activity of the Church and eager to receive baptism. However, the region is remote and the villages widely scattered. There are too few priests, and so the catechists play a vital role, both in preparing people for baptism and in promoting the process of peace and reconciliation.

 

On Sundays these catechists often have to travel many hours on foot to reach the villages where there is no priest to celebrate Holy Mass, in order to pray with them and instruct them in the Catholic Faith. In order to provide the catechists with more autonomy, ACN has promised 10, 875 dollars to equip some 30 of these catechists with one bicycle each, to help make more efficient use of their time and energies and help them to better carry out their vital and precious service.

 

 

 

In this way, they will reach more villages and devote themselves still more intensively to the work of evangelization.

 

*  United Nations High Commission for Refugees 

ACN Project of the Week in Syria: Food aid for 1,500 refugee families

05.04.2017 in Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Persecution of Christians, Syria
Photo: Syria February 2016
Melkite Cathedral Sunday Divine Liturgy in Damascus

Our Project of the Week: in Syria

Food aid for 1,500 refugee families  

March 13, 2017 – was a tragic anniversary. Exactly 6 years ago, the terrible war began that has since devastated Syria. By this anniversary, 6.3 million people have been displaced within their own country that means 13.5 million people are now dependent on humanitarian aid. This represents roughly 2/3 of the population of the country. About 5 million people have officially registered as refugees in neighbouring countries. Many of the younger children have known nothing but war, nothing but exile from their homes.

We understand your aid as a sign of solidarity and love for the poorest of the poor, and it is also a gesture that will give hope to these suffering brothers and sisters of ours and show them that they are not forgotten.”

The Melkite Catholic patriarchate in Damascus has asked us to help to provide food for around 1,500 refugee families living in rural areas on the outskirts of the capital of Damascus. The idea is to provide the basic necessities such as milk for children, lentils, sugar, tea, oil canned goods and other basic necessities for the next three months. Fifteen volunteer helpers will distribute the food from three centres. The most needy families will be contacted individually to ensure they know exactly where and when they can collect the food.

Father Maher Masour who is in charge of the project, writes to us: “It is so sad to see these families living in such pitiful conditions and robbed of their dignity, full of fear for today and for tomorrow – the adults, and above all the children. We understand your aid as a sign of solidarity and love for the poorest of the poor, and it is also a gesture that will give hope to these suffering brothers and sisters of ours and show them that they are not forgotten.”

Thanks to you, we are supporting this project with 246 500 dollars – that is close to $54 per family, per month.

Thank you for helping us help these families!


 

ACN Interview – Father Jacques Mourad visits Canada

31.10.2016 in Abducted Clergy and Religious, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Mario Bard, Syria

Syria

Stop the sale of arms!

While travelling through Canada recently, Father Jacques Mourad, a monk from the Mar Mousa Community in Syria, spoke with Aid to the Church in Need.  During a brief telephone interview given before leaving for Europe, the priest – once kidnapped by the ISIS (Islamic State) and held from May to October 2015 – asks Canadians to reflect on the impact of the sale of arms, especially those in the Gulf region, which according to him, find their way into the hands of fighters in Syria.

 

Picture of Father Mourad, kidnapped on 21st May 2015, carrying a cross. Only this low quality file available (picture sent to Fr Halemba during his trip to Syria)

Picture of Father Mourad, carrying a cross.  He was kidnapped May 21, 2015.

ACN: What would you say to the people of Canada about the war in Syria?

Father Jacques Mourad:  “For my first point:  I wish to thank and convey my thanks from the people of Syria – especially the Christians of Syria – to the Canadian people who opened their hearts and their country.

But, I also say however that importing the Syrian people is not a good solution.

Secondly, what we hope for from the democratic countries such as Canada – who [though] are unable to stop this war – will continue to welcome the refugees, and in so-doing save their lives.  Especially [those who are found] in areas where they are in danger (such as in Aleppo among other places). But, I also say however that importing the Syrian people is not a good solution.

Is it possible to bring the entire country over, for everyone in Syria is in danger! Therefore, the effort [needed] from a country with a good heart and who possesses its freedom [like your own] is to do all that is required to raise awareness [about the consequences of war] and convince the government to do everything in its power to stop the sale of arms.

For it is with these arms – like those Canada is producing and which are sold in the Gulf countries – it is with these arms, which land in the hands of all those who are fighting – that the Syrian people are killed. We have no idea of the death toll, the misery, etc. The fact that this country continues to produce and sell arms – makes it in part responsible for the war in Syria.

Father Mourad during the press conferece in Rome

Father Mourad during the press conferece in Rome

Canadians are invited and called [its government] to reflect and to take into consideration that we are aware of what is happening, that we are wounded and that we are suffering.”

Father Mourad calls on all Canadians to pray for the Syria people and for peace to come.

Father Mourad calls on all Canadians to pray for the Syria people and for peace to come. Since the beginnings of the war in March 2011, Aid to the Church in Need has supported the Syrian people by means of emergency projects developed by the local Churches in Syria.  Whether the need required providing support for lodging for the elderly and sick who cannot leave the country – or for the distribution of diapers, food, and warm clothing for those in need – the pontifical charity has provided support in the amount of approximately 19 million dollars.

The projects continue to develop.  Along with the renewal of the project for milk and diapers to help families, the organization is supporting elderly priests and religious Sisters who are living on the edge of exhaustion with Mass Offerings.  Finally, 600 families will receive help to pay for heating this winter, as the cost of mazut remains prohibitive.

 

 

 

Interview and text by Mario Bard, Aid to the Church in Need Canada

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin

 


 

 

 

Invitation: 3rd Mass in Montreal for Persecuted Christians

27.10.2016 in Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Peace, Prayer

Aid to the Church in Need Canada

3rd Mass for Persecuted Christians

 

On November 4th of this year, the Archbishop of Montreal, Msgr. Christian Lépine, will preside over a Mass dedicated to persecuted Christians for the 3rd consecutive year, which will be celebrated at 7:30 pm at Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal. In collaboration with Aid to the Church in Need Canada, this event represents a moment of spiritual solidarity with those who, day after day, suffer persecution because of their religious beliefs.

 

 

 

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

 located at:
1085 rue de la Cathédrale,
métro Bonaventure.

For more information, call 514-932-0552,
or toll free: 1-800-585-6333.

Thank you for sharing this information within your networks!

 


 

PRESS RELEASE – Syria – In emergency mode, more than ever

30.08.2016 in Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Emergency Aid, Julie Bourbeau, Middle East, Syria

Syria

In emergency mode, more than ever

 

Montréal/Königstein, August 30, 2016 – Aid to the Church in Need announces that it wishes to continue providing emergency aid in Syria and counts on raising over 2 million dollars in order to do so. This amount must serve to continue the already existing support programs, as well as adding others, so that the Local Church can continue to help the most underprivileged displaced and refugee families of many of Syria’s villages and towns, including Tartus and Damascus. Special attention will be given to the city of Aleppo.    

 

Presently, the citizens of what used to be Syria’s economic and industrial heartland are suffocating, victims of the battles opposing the government army – which controls the western part of the town – and rebel groups which run the eastern part of the city, and thus control the water and power supplies.

 

Paradoxically, while the number of Christians in the conflict zone has decreased once again over the last few months, the number of families needing subsistence aid has increased rapidly. The support provided over the next few months includes a milk and diaper supply for about 650 babies and toddlers aged 2 and under in Tartus and in other parts of the Latakia diocese.

 

Thanks to the generosity of many benefactors, the international charity organization was able to help about two hundred babies at the beginning of the year. Our partners wrote, “You have been the visible image of the invisible God.” “Your aid always raises the morale of the desperate families, who otherwise might have the impression that a baby is a burden instead of feeling happiness and joy.”

 

Aid to the Church in Need would also like to extend its support to the uprooted families of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib, who are homeless due to violent clashes. Most have been settled in Tartus and Latakia; they now need help to pay for housing. Only a few months ago, about a hundred families benefited from support. To date, 2,817 have received emergency aid, thanks to the benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need.

Supporting families of refugees and displaced is a priority for the Church in Syria.

Supporting families of refugees and displaced is a priority for the Church in Syria.

 

 

Providing dignity

According to recent numbers of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), more than three out of four Syrians live in extreme poverty and cannot afford basic products and food supplies that are indispensable to their subsistence: the price of fuel more than doubled over the last 18 months; that of wheat flour increased by about 300% and rice by about 650%, compared to the price before the war began.

 

Our emergency aid coordinators wrote: “Thanks to your help, we can stay next to our people and help them, which lightens their burden. We continue to work as a team and, with your support, are trying to stay in contact with an ever-increasing number of families and, as much as possible, provide them with what they need to live in dignity. We must support them in their daily lives, particularly those who have children, and also seniors, as they are the most vulnerable. Life has become very expensive and very hard. Our families struggle against fear and worry about the future. The question that people are constantly asking themselves is whether to stay or not, and what will ultimately become of us.”

 

Our coordinators of emergency aid wrote:

“Thanks to your help, we can stay next to our people and help them, which lightens their burden. 

We continue to work as a team and, with your support, are trying to stay in contact with an ever-increasing number of families and,
as much as possible, provide them with what they need to live in dignity.

We must support them in their daily lives, particularly those who have children, and also seniors,
as they are the most vulnerable. Life has become very expensive and very hard.

This mother and her child were helped last winter thanks the Aid to the Church in Need's benefactors.

This mother and her child were helped last winter thanks to Aid to the Church in Need’s benefactors.

 

Our families struggle against fear and worry about the future.
The question that people are constantly asking themselves is whether to stay or not, and what will ultimately become of us.”

To continue supporting the emergency support programs in Syria,
Aid to the Church in Need, along with its partners,
is calling upon the generosity of its benefactors and that of all those touched by the Syrian conflict.
Since March 2011, the pontifical charity organization has given close to 19 million dollars to refugees and the displaced in Syria.
Thank you for your generosity!
 

 

To give in Canada

Aid to the Church in Need
P.O. Box 670, Stn H
Montreal, QC H3G 2M6

Ontario ACN Sub-Office
P.O. Box 40009, RPO Marlee,
Toronto ON M6B 4K4

Or here :

donate

 

 

 

 

By Mario Bard, Aid to the Church in Need Canada

Translation, Julie Bourbeau

Adaptation, Amanda Bridget Griffin


 

Project of the week: Feeding Iraqi refugees

03.02.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adaptation Mario Bard, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Emergency Aid, Iraq, Journey with ACN, Lebanon, Projets pastorale, Refugees, SUBSISTENCE, Syria, Voyager avec l’AED

Lebanon

Help to feed Iraqi refugees 

Right now, Lebanon is facing huge challenges . This small country of just 4.5 million has had to find space for no fewer than 1.1 million refugees. In fact, this number includes only those refugees officially registered with international agencies. The real figure is almost certainly much higher than this.

Every day more refugees are arriving in Lebanon, from Syria and Iraq. More often than not, their dreams of a better life here are quickly devastated for while they have at least saved their lives, they very soon find themselves confronted with immense difficulties with simply finding ways to live and  to survive.  They face astronomical rents for example, even for the smallest and most miserable living accommodations. There is no work. Medical treatment is expensive and indeed virtually unaffordable for most refugees. If refugees attempt to move elsewhere within Lebanon, they can be arrested and imprisoned as illegal immigrants. Many have had false expectations of what awaited them abroad.

Lebanon: exemple of pastoral projects to the refugees children of Syria and Iraq.

Lebanon: An example of pastoral projects to the refugees children of Syria and Iraq.

In the capital city of Beirut, the Chaldean Catholic eparchy is striving to take care of  Iraqi families, most of who have fled here from Mosul and the Plain of Niniveh from the advancing ISIS fighters. The eparchy provides these people with basic necessities, helps them look for work, and also ministers to them pastorally.

For example,  children can prepare for their First Holy Communion and there are other catechetical classes for children and young people, plus pastoral and social services for women and many other services besides. Last year ACN gave a total of 43,500 CAD towards the cost of this pastoral and human support for the Iraqi refugees. For example, helping with the supply of catechetical materials, including audiovisual equipment .

Chaldean Bishop Michel Kassarji of Beirut has thanked ACN for all the help he has already received, and in advance,for the help he still about to receive. “We pray to Christ our Lord, the Good Samaritan, to pour out his graces on you in rich measure and bless you, and to reward you, and all those who have contributed to this wonderful work of charity, a hundredfold for the good you have done.”

At the same time he has asked us to help his community with additional aid for food and other necessities.

We have promised him 14,500 CAD.

Holy communion for the refugee children of Iraq and Syria, at St.Joseph Parish.

Holy communion for the refugee children of Iraq and Syria, at St.Joseph Parish.


 

Feature Story – 40 Syrian refugee families supported in Armenia

25.01.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Armenia

Armenia

ACN support of the neediest Syrian families 

Forty payment plastic cards with the value of 20,000 AMD (approximately $55 CAN) were distributed to the 40 most vulnerable and needy families from the Syrian refugee community in Armenia. Syrians were assisted on the occasion of New Year and Christmas holidays in the frame of the project “Improving Livelihoods of Syrian refugees in Armenia,” a vocational and psychological program funded by International Charity “Aid to the Church in Need” and implemented by the Armenia Round Table Foundation (ARTF). The project is another example of a good cooperation between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholics in the country.

ARMENIA / NATIONAL 15/00102 Programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological): On December 25th and December 28th, ART organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give the free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich our lives, returning to their Armenian roots under the sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to Syrian-Armenian spirit and the love, faith, and traditions. Here: Bishop Navasard Kchoyan with Syrian refugees Only this very small file quality available

 

On December 25th and December 28th, ARTF organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give them free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes.

Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich the lives of the Armenians, returning to their roots under these sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to the Syrian-Armenian people for keeping their spirit, faith and traditions.

 

ARMENIA / NATIONAL 15/00102 Programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological): On December 25th and December 28th, ART organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give the free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich our lives, returning to their Armenian roots under the sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to Syrian-Armenian spirit and the love, faith, and traditions. Here: Syrian refugee woman with the plastic cardExtremely difficult conditions

The situation on the ground is much more difficult than anyone could imagine because some of the families are newcomers while others have been living in Armenia for 2 or 3 years and nothing has changed in their lives since their arrival. Mainly they live in rented flats and are not able to afford the communal expenses, the rents, and food, medical and other social services. Most of them live in cold houses because they can’t use electrical and gas heaters. The ARTF Program Officer made ten home visits out of forty families included on the lists for card distribution.

An 80-year-old woman was sitting covered by a dozen blankets so as not to freeze. She was blind and her legs were paralyzed and she needed her two daughters’ assistance all the time. She needs medicine, food and heat. Hearing the visitor’s voice brought tears from her eyes.

Another elderly woman kept silent all the time. She lost her son. He was a soldier, in Syria. Her grandchildren became her only sense of solace heart thereafter.

 

A new nation and thanks to the Church,  a new homeland

Arpy Pchakchyan’s family arrived on December 22, 2015 assisted by “Aleppo” NGO’s project “Save a Life.” They lived in Aleppo without water, food, and devoid of basic hygienic conditions to live in. They have 2 children: Zheni is 15 and Caro is 10. Remembering the horrors of war, Caro covered his face with trembling fingers. Currently they live in a two-room flat rented by Arpy’s mother; in total 8 people live in this flat. Despite all the difficulties, they are happy to have come to Armenia which they consider to be their homeland, to reunite with their family members – and mainly they are happy because they are still alive.

ARMENIA / NATIONAL 15/00102 Programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological): On December 25th and December 28th, ART organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give the free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich our lives, returning to their Armenian roots under the sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to Syrian-Armenian spirit and the love, faith, and traditions. Here: Group picture of Syrian refugees with Bishop Navasard Kchoyan Only this very small file quality avaiable

Arpy is willing to attend a vocational course training group as her sister Mari did, who attended courses on manicuring and earns money providing home service to customers.

All the families expressed their gratitude for ARTF and all benefactors for the training and humanitarian assistance, especially on a difficult Christmas Eve. A fund of $2,320 CAN was offered to provide presents for refugees.

One thing is clear – they all want to find jobs and they are strong enough to start a new life in Armenia after losing their homes, property and loved ones in the war.

More on the programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological) ACN funded with $43,500 CAN

This project was jointly presented by Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Head of the Inter-Church Relations of the Armenian Apostolic Church and by Archbishop Rafael Minassian, Ordinary of Armenian Catholics in Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Eastern Europe. It was launched on 30 June, 2015 in the Art House training Center in Yerevan with a plan for training 40 Syrian refugee women and youth for various professions. Another important objective of the project is the continuous support of a priest and an experienced psychologist for the affected refugees.

 

 

By Alla Sarkissova/Maria Lozano, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada