Aid to the Church in Need Canada


Press Release : ACN’s urgent request for children in Aleppo

13.03.2017 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Maria Lozano, Communiqué, Journey with ACN, Middle East, Press Release, Syria

A Drop of Milk program

An urgent request to support the children of Aleppo


Aid to the Church in Need continues the work done since the start of the war in Syria: to support the Christian families of Aleppo, along with local partners, such as Canadian-Syrian gastroenterologist Nabil Antaki. Our immediate concern is to continue the distribution of milk to the children.

Drop of milk: special milk for the infants


The aim of the project—named A Drop of Milk—is to provide to Christian children of Aleppo under the age of ten a certain amount of milk every month. In these times of scarcity, this “white gold” is essential for the proper growth and well-being of children. The Drop of Milk program has been ongoing since May 2015.

The project is most appreciated by all the Christian Churches in Aleppo since it is the ONLY program, which helps all Christians regardless of their particular denomination.  It is an ecumenical program. However, the financing of this life-giving project is waning.  Dr. Nabil Antaki, the Syrian doctor who is coordinating the project has approached ACN for support to be able to keep running the milk program, which is essential for the Christian children in Aleppo.

“We distribute milk every month to about 2,850 children: 2,600 receive powdered milk and 250 receive special milk for infants. Babies, not breastfed by their mother, also receive a special infant’s milk. The total number of beneficiaries varies every month depending on the number of births and emigration of the families,” explains Dr. Nabil Antaki.

 The situation is dire…

The relative calm since the retaking of Eastern Aleppo has seen families returning to their homes.   But with the vast amount of destruction and lack of usable structures, their needs are huge.   Basics like food baskets, fuel for heating their houses and electricity are the essentials needed to begin again. Since the start of the conflict, the pontifical charity ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) has been channeling urgent help to those Christian families in Syria.

ACN will help for a year with the program Drop of milk, a total more 326 000 dollars.

Despite the end of the conflict in that region, these staggering numbers tell a story of ongoing despair:  80% of the population of Aleppo is displaced; 70% live below the poverty line.  Food parcels are desperately needed to fend-off the starvation that comes with such devastation.

Georgina, a mother of three children, explains to ACN how important the Drop of Milk project is for her and her family: “Myriam is ten years old; Pamela is six. We are one of the beneficiaries of ‘A Drop of Milk’ project. Both Myriam and Pamela get one kilogram of milk powder every month. Pamela’s health is critical after being hit by bomb which left shrapnel in her back.   Now that she is recovering, she needs milk to become healthier and stronger. This project is very important for me and my family and I’d really like it to continue.”

The children of Aleppo, already deprived of a normal and peaceful childhood, should not be deprived of milk needed for their growth and health. ACN has therefore assured Dr. Antaki of our help for the children of Aleppo.

Aid to the Church in Need will give $27,188 each month during this year whole year – 2017 – for a total of $326,256.


Will you partner with us and show the children of Aleppo that there is hope? There are many ways to give to the children of Aleppo:


By phone: 514-932-0552 or toll free at 1-800-585-6333, ext. 227
Via our web site: http://secure.acn-aed-ca.org or https://www.facebook.com/AidChurch/


By mail:

Aid to the Church in Need
A Drop of Milk program
P.O. Box 670, Station H
Montreal, QC    H3G 2M6


In the name of Aleppo’s children: We thank you!



Text: Maria Lozano, ACN international Adapted by  Aid to the Church in Need Canada




ACN’s Press Release – Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima

07.03.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Mario Bard, Communiqué, Father Werenfried van Straaten, Journey with ACN, Our Lady of Fatima


70 years of Aid to the Church in Need!

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima


“Father Werenfried, the founder of Aid to the Church in Need, was a fervent prayer to Mary, and 50 years ago this year, he consecrated his charity to Our Lady of Fatima.  This devotion remained dear to our organization and so, we want to share its great significance with our benefactors,” said Marie-Claude Lalonde, national director of Aid to the Church in Need.


Our Lady of Fatima


From September 9th to the 18th, 2017, the international Catholic charity is organizing, in collaboration with the travel agency, Spiritours, specialized in trips focused on spiritual renewal, a pilgrimage to Portugal. If Fatima is at the heart of the journey, other cities are included such as the capital of Lisbon, Coimbra – where Sister Lucie, one of the Seers of Fatima lived her life out until her death – Porto and Saint James of Compostela.


“The Canadian pilgrims will be able to live unforgettable experiences like the international Mass or an evening of Eucharistic Adoration organized in collaboration with Aid the Church in Need.  In this setting, thousands of benefactors from all over the world are expected,” explains Mrs. Lalonde.


“It is a unique opportunity to commune with the cause dear to them, at the very heart of this sanctuary where Father Werenfried entrusted his charity to Our Lady.  I will take part in the trip, and I am very excited to share this precious time with those who have made possible more than 6,000 projects a year in on average 140 countries.


Then charity begun by the “Bacon Priest” – full of effervesce


Fatima, May 1992: Father Werenfried pay a visit to Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima visionary

For 70 years, the projects supported by Aid to the Church in Need have been diversified – but always with one single goal connecting them: helping the Church, the Christian community, where it responds to the needs of the world.


“Father Werenfried – also known as ‘the Bacon Priest’ because of the charity’s origins – was always attentive to the requests from the Church, no matter where from. Whether it be to build a chapel or cathedral, or to help the Church feed millions of displaced people and refugees, or with pastoral training for priests, religious or laypeople.  Our founder knew how to listen and understand the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a need,” says Mrs. Lalonde.  “For him, all these projects served one single purpose: announcing the Gospel and its benefits, in word and in action.  And, that is what we continue to do to this day.”




To sign up for the trip, to find out pricing and the details of the trip – please contact Mikaël Maniscalco at Spiritours, (514)374-7965, Ext 207. spiritours.com/en/travel/portugal-et-espagne-sept2017/


Portugal, Fatima, September 2013: Pilgrims of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) gather regularly to pray and offer the work of so many Church workers to Our Lady.  


ACN Project of the Week – a church for Rourkela

15.02.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN Intl, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Marie-Claude Lalonde, India, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need

ACN Success Story 

In this month of February, our Projects of the Week will be dedicated to India.  

An immense and fascinating country, the Indian sub-continent is home to over 16 million Catholics.  The great majority is poor and does not have the funds to support the development of their parishes.  Aid to the Church in Need is there to respond to the needs of bishops, community superiors and others who are tasked with Church responsibilities who ask us to help them to strengthen the faith of Indian Catholics.  Here are some stories of projects – successful ones –, which have seen the light of day thanks to you!


In the diocese of Rourkela, India, Aid to the Church in Need benefactors are contributing to the vitality of a parish community through the participation in the co-financing for the construction of a new church for the new parish of Bihadandh.  Every Sunday,  700 to 1,000 people come to celebrate Mass.  The community is enthusiastic and participates in the construction and transportation of bricks and cement and even lay bricks themselves.  They are proud of their church.  This church, even though incomplete, is a source of joy for this community.


Thanks to you, Aid to the Church in Need benefactors, we were able to support this community’s construction project with —$72,000


Thank you from the bottom or our hearts!



Project of the Week in India

18.01.2017 in ACN Intl, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, India, Journey with ACN, Project of the Week


A multipurpose hall for the parish of Ambadochar


Project trip to India, Madhya Pradesh, February 2016: Together with Bishop A. Arokia Sebastian Durairaj visit to St. Arnold’s Parish Ambadocher. The village is mostly inhabited by Barela tribal, Christian and Muslim families. The visitors were greeted very warmly.

The parish of Ambadochar is located approximately 56 miles (91 km) from the town of Khandwa in the state of Madhya Pradesh, central India. A remote village parish, encompassing about 200 Catholic families who are ministered to by the Divine Word Missionaries (also known as the Steyler Missionaries).

The people of the region belong to ethnic minorities and are known as “Adivasi,” or “indigenous peoples“. The Catholic community is growing rapidly and urgently need a centre where Holy Mass and other liturgical ceremonies, prayer meetings, retreats and catechetical sessions can be held as well as gatherings for children, young people, women’s groups and many other such events. For the old mud building currently used by the parish is in imminent danger of collapsing and is moreover far too small.

So now the parish is planning to build a multipurpose hall to accommodate parish life. But the faithful are extremely poor and can contribute little financially to the fulfillment of this dream. Half of them live below the poverty threshold, struggling to make ends meet from their own small agricultural plots, while others work as day labourers for wealthy landowners, not infrequently forced to borrow from them and so falling into debt bondage, since they are unable to pay the astronomically high interest demanded – a situation often passed down from generation to generation. Diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are widespread, as is chronic malnutrition. Most adults are illiterate and very few of their children are able to attend school. Hence there is no way these people can pay for the new building.

And so Father Pankratius Xalxo has turned to ACN for help, so that the parish can at last build the centre they need for their activities. We have promised them 43,500 CAN.

Please click to donate if you wish to support this project or one similar !








Project of the Week – a sign of God in Ethiopia

21.12.2016 in ACN Canada, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Ethiopia, Journey with ACN


A chapel in one of the remotest regions of the country


Addis Abeba Archdiocese, woman with tattooed cross, Benishangul-Gumuz region

The region of Benishangul-Gumuz lies in the far west of Ethiopia, on the border with Sudan, and is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped regions in the country. It has a population of almost 990,000, a little over one fifth of whom belong to the Gumuz ethnic group. Culturally, the Gumuz people are more closely related to the peoples of Sudan than to the other ethnic groups in Ethiopia. In the late 19th century and even into the first third of the 20th century many of the Gumuz fell victim to slave traders.

Most  Gumuz people have until now, or until only very recently, never come into contact with Christianity. Their traditional religion has many different gods, including a river god, an earth god, a sun god, a tree god, a god of a particular mountain and many other gods. In reality, however, these are not so much gods as spirits or forces. There is a widespread belief in witchcraft, and many superstition-based traditions are practiced, which cause great suffering. For example, pregnant Gumuz women are forced to leave their villages and give birth to their children alone in the woods, by a river or in the bush. They have to stay in this remote spot for at least three days, so if any complications occur, there is nobody to help them. But the people are convinced that the blood that flows in childbirth will bring a curse upon the family.

Catholic priests and religious who have recently come to this region have been welcomed with great joy by the people, who are happy to hear about the Good News of the Gospel. At the same time their daily lives have improved, because the missionaries have brought with them medical care and set up schools for their children, and because they are also helping to overcome not only their worst physical sufferings but also their fears of evil spirits and witchcraft and the various traditions that bring them such suffering.

Ethiopia, Addis Abeba Archdiocese 24 April – 05 May 2012
Gumuz tribe in Ohaba village, Benishangul Gumuz regionhe

The Comboni missionaries have been working in the region for twelve years now and have established two mission stations so far. They now have four very well-established Catholic communities, but none of them as yet has a chapel. So the Comboni Fathers have turned to ACN for help so that they can build a small chapel in one of the villages where they can celebrate Holy Mass, give religious instruction and conduct other prayers and liturgical ceremonies. Up to now, all these ceremonies have had to be done in the open air, exposed to all the elements, in scorching heat or torrential rainfall. A chapel would also strengthen the sense of community solidarity among the faithful and their sense of identification with the Church.

The community already has 120  baptized Catholics, plus another 85 catechists and 80 children. The local people have no money, needless to say, but are willing to contribute whatever they can in the form of locally available building materials, together with their own willing, if unskilled, labour. But more durable and permanent materials will also be needed, such as the steel for construction, and for this the Comboni missionaries have asked for help from ACN. The chapel will also need to be protected with an enclosure fence.


We are proposing to help with a contribution of $29,200.





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


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!



Mass for the Persecuted Christians – event in Montreal

18.10.2016 in Aid to the Church in Need Canada, 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.

“Our report on religious freedom will be released on November 15th of this year” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, Director of Aid to the Church in Need Canada. “This information tool is a reminder that when we speak of religion, persecution is often close at hand. Moreover, it seems as though the situation has worsened in 11 countries which were already under observation when the previous report was published in 2014.”


Symbole de cette persécution, à Bagdad en Irak : les tuniques des deux jeunes prêtres assassinés en pleine célébration de la messe, le dimanche 31 octobre 2010, basilique Notre-Dame-du-Sauveur. (photo : 	Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid

Symbol of this persecution, in Baghdad, Iraq: the robes of the two young priests assassinated while celebrating Mass on Sunday, October 31, 2010, at the Basilique Notre-Dame-du-Sauveur.
(photo: Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid)

“Unfortunately, alongside their brothers and sisters of other religious traditions, the Christians are the first victims of persecution,” adds the director. “A time of prayer granted to them by their Catholic co-religionists is the least we can do, and we are very grateful to Msgr. Lépine for this essential time of reflection and spiritual union between those who suffer persecution and those who enjoy one of the greatest religious freedoms!” believes Marie-Claude Lalonde.
A trio of young musicians and singers – directed by singer-songwriter Marie-Jeanne Fontaine – will facilitate the musical part of the Mass. “We hope that many other young people will be joining us. We are launching a special appeal for them to show more solidarity with their brothers and sisters in faith,” concludes Marie-Claude Lalonde.


Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

is 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!





Azerbaijan: A tiny community will be visited

15.09.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN Feature, ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Azerbaijan, Feature Story, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Peace, Pope, Pope Francis


Pope Francis brings peace


Fourteen years after the visit of John Paul II, Azerbaijan is once again preparing for a pontifical visit. The pope will not only travel to the tiny Catholic community, but will also work towards peace in this long suffering region.  

Situated on the shores of the Caspian Sea, Baku is a very beautiful city if you ignore the large blocks of Soviet high rises grouped together at its edges. With its mix of the Orient, the capital city offers a collection from several historical periods, beginning with the old city with its narrow alleys, classical buildings and old mosques, to the Baroque city from the time of the first oil boom in the early twentieth century, all the way to the ultramodern city of the new oil boom; here, the boldest architects on Earth have given their best.

Azerbaïjan 2016: market in Baku

Azerbaïjan 2016: market in Baku



The country is rich, very rich as a matter of fact, thanks to the oil that has made it possible to shift the focus to major projects.
The “Dubai of the Caspian See” was even planning to create artificial islands, as is common practice among the rich Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula. Ninety-five per cent of its resources stem from this energy source, which means that the country has not been left unscathed by the current drop in oil prices. Large-scale projects such as the extension of the subway have been suspended while the one or other budget problem has come to light.



When the Sisters of Mother Teresa arrived in the country in 2006 to serve the poor, they were told that there were no poor in Azerbaijan! However, there are those whom the system has forgotten; these are the ones who mourn Soviet times when everyone received a subsistence wage.


Baku, «the Dubai of the Caspien Sea», where the ultrmodern and traditionnal architecture meet.

Baku, «the Dubai of the Caspien Sea», where the ultrmodern and traditionnal architecture meet.


Sunnis make up a minority in Azerbaijan with an estimated 15% to 30%. The government keeps a very close watch on any attempts at radicalization. It has probably not only remained suspicious of religion as such, but is also aware of the dangers of its expansion in view of the current situation in the Middle East.  Even though it barely makes up more than 2% of the population (9.7 millions), the second most important religion is the Orthodox faith. In the past, its followers counted barely half a million, but their numbers shrank to 200,000 when half of the Russians left the country after independence. The Orthodox Church has an eparchy with approximately fifteen parishes and maintains good relations with the Catholic Church.



A tiny minority Church


A Catholic church was built in 1912 during the time of the first oil boom, but was closed again with the arrival of the Bolsheviks in 1920 a

nd then destroyed in the early 1930s. When the Catholic Church returned in 1992, only a dozen aged followers remained of what had once been 10,000 Catholics. Today, the community has 300 native-born members (often mixed marriages) and 1,000 foreign members including 300 Filipinos: when considered in relation to the entire country, an almost symbolic presence. On average, about 500 people come together each week.

Azerbaïdjan: 95% of the inhabitants are Muslims, but the religious practice is discreet.

Azerbaïdjan: 95% of the inhabitants are Muslims, but the way to practice the religion is discreet.



Since it was initially seen as an evangelizing sect, John Paul II’s visit did wonders for the Church. For example in response to the visit, the president gave a piece of land to the Church, which is now dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. A large statue of the Virgin Mary stands directly in front of the parish and draws many people, including many Muslims and particularly women. (picture of of the top)


The Catholic Church in Azerbaijan has only a single parish with a church and a chapel that is served by six priests. This small community also includes five Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity and two Salesian nuns who are under the direction of the apostolic prefect, Msgr. Vladimir Fekete, a Salesian from Slovenia.


On May 29, 2016, the future first Azerbaijani priest was ordained to the diaconate in Saint Petersburg: this is very good news for the Church in Azerbaijan. These can probably be considered the first buds of this discreet, but truly missionary presence.   


Children holding the ACN's Bible for children. We are there to help this tiny but active community.

Children holding ACN’s Bible for children. As organization, We are there to help this tiny but active community.

Trip to Azerbaijan of ACN France in 2016

Ultramodern towers in Baku. Pope Francis is visiting Azerbaidjan between September 30 and October 2.











*Picture at the top: Catholic church in Baku, the statue of the Virgin Mary 

By Marc Fromager, ACN France
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada


Project of the Week in Sri Lanka

14.09.2016 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Aid to the Church in Need Canada


Sri Lanka


Solar panels to help love radiate!


The diocese of Badulla lies in one of the poorest and most neglected regions on the island of Sri Lanka. Therefore the Church here is also very poor and, 45 years since it was first established, the diocese remains almost entirely dependent on outside help to function.


Solar System for Devsarana Home for Elderly at Hali ElaCatholics represent only a tiny minority in this region. Most of its people live and work on the tea plantations and are desperately poor, leaving them quite unable to provide for the parishes or support their priests – to say nothing of the other Church structures within the diocese.



One such institution is a home for the elderly and needy who have no one else to look after them. The residents of this home are lovingly cared for by a congregation of religious Sisters. But they are too poor to contribute anything towards the cost of their own care. Consequently, the diocese  has to bear the cost of running the home. One of the heaviest burdens in this task is the cost of the electricity. Since it is so expensive, all the cooking is done with wood fires, and the Sisters have to do without many of the electrical gadgets that would otherwise make it much easier and more hygienic to maintain the home.


The bishop has turned to ACN for help to purchase solar panels, which will provide the house with the energy it needs and a less expensive electricity supply. We have promised 10,150 CAD for the realization of this project.



To donate to a similar project – please visit our secure donation page on line – or call us!

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