New edition of One Million Children – A Powerful Prayer

24.09.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PRESS, Children, Children, Prayer

New edition of One Million Children

A Powerful Prayer


Again, this year, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) invites people in charge of doing  pastoral work with children, whether in parishes or elsewhere, to contact the organization in order to participate in the great international prayer movement – One Million Children Pray the Rosary.


“For the last few years, on October 18th, we have invited children of the world to pray for peace,” explains Marie-Claude Lalonde, Director of the international organization’s Canadian office. “We are very happy to have taken over the initiative launched in Venezuela. Some children who desired world peace spontaneously got together to pray the Rosary, but they quickly wanted for other kids to participate. And here we are, 12 years later.”


Children in the Philippines praying the Rosary together in 2017.

Many of the ACN’s national offices offer original material designed to facilitate the organization of this activity. She says, “By contacting us, the people in charge will be able to receive the necessary information and material to organize the event. I know that, this year, October 18 falls on a weekday and that it can be more difficult to gather children together on that day. Thus, you can organize this time of prayer on the days preceding or following that date.” In the Catholic Church, the month of October is specifically dedicated to praying the Rosary.


For more information about the organization of this event in your parish or pastoral youth group or Sunday School group, please contact Annie Desrosiers at 514-932-0552, ext. 224. You will also find information and a downloadable link at the following address: bit.ly/1MchildrenEN.


In addition, we invite you to share this activity on your social media! bit.ly/1MChildren.

This activity is specifically geared towards children ages 5 to 12, but all are welcome to participate.



ONE MILLION Children Pray for Peace in the World 2017

12.10.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, Children, Children, Prayer, Rosary


ONE MILLION Children Pray for Peace in the World 2017

Because October is the month of the Holy Rosary in the Catholic church On 18 October: “One Million Children Praying the Rosary”  This year, the prayer campaign is dedicated to the children in Syria, the innocent victims of a never-ending war.

The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is calling for children to participate in the campaign “One Million Children Praying the Rosary”.  Children of all ages throughout the world will gather on Wednesday, 18 October, at 9.00 a.m. local time (or, if this should not be possible, at some other time) to pray for unity and peace in the world. In many areas of the world, lessons will even be interrupted for half an hour so that the children can participate. This year’s prayer campaign is dedicated in particular to the children in Syria, the innocent victims of a never-ending war.

“When one million children pray the rosary, the world will change.”

The children’s rosary campaign was initiated in 2005 in Venezuela. The initiators have placed their faith in a quotation from St. Padre Pio, “When one million children pray the rosary, the world will change.” This gave the initiative its name. The response from all over the world has been great. Last year, children in 69 countries took part in the prayer campaign.

“In 2017 especially, the 100th anniversary of the appearances of the Queen of the Holy Rosary at Fatima, the best thing we can do for peace in this world is to take the message from heaven seriously. Is it not significant that God chose children in Fatima to be the recipients of the most momentous peace plan for the new age? The children understood the language of Our Lady and, most importantly, believed her words. Shouldn’t we be doing so much more to teach children and support them in playing a part in this peace plan, a plan that is more topical than ever today?” the president of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, wrote in the invitation to participate in the prayer campaign.

Materials for the prayer campaign can be downloaded here: millionkidspraying.org


Iraq – Back to School

29.08.2017 in ACN International, Adaptation Mario Bard, By Daniele Piccini, Children, Construction, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Iraq, Middle East

Kids in school, essential to the survival of Christian villages


The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is working against time, together with the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee (NRC) to repair and rebuild as many family homes as possible, so that the Syriac Catholic families can return in time for the beginning of the school year. Already at least 600 families have returned to this town in the Nineveh plains. Father Georges Jahola, who is in charge of the Syriac Catholic team on the NRC, predicts confidently: “In 10 years time the city will be repopulated as it was before IS.”


The town of Baghdeda (or Qaraqosh) on the plains of Nineveh is engaged in a fight against time, a fight for life. In September, its schools will be reopening. The Syriac Catholic families, forced to flee the town three years ago to escape the violence of the fighters of the so-called Islamic State (IS), and who have spent the last three years as internal refugees in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, now want to return home finally – in time for their children to begin their school year… if possible.

In the center, Fr. Georges Jahola, syro-catholic priest from Qaraqosh, Iraq, last spring. Celebration of the olive tree ceremony to mark the begining of the reconstruction in the Nineveh Plain.


“The schools in Baghdeda have been repaired by various international agencies such as the UN”, explains Father Georges Jahola, a Syriac Catholic priest who is in charge of the Syriac Catholic team and a member of the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee, tasked with rebuilding the city. “Unfortunately, however, the houses of the Christian families who want to return have not yet been rebuilt. Before the arrival of IS there were around 5,000 Syriac Catholic families here, of whom around 60% have school-age children. If their homes are not yet ready for habitation by September, these families might well decide to go elsewhere, and this time for good. On the other hand, if we succeed, I am sure that within 10 years, Baghdeda will have been repopulated and there will be just as many Christians here as before.”


An inheritance of destruction


In this town, 2 ½ years of occupation by thousands of IS militants – who, Father Georges suggests, “probably had their operational base right here” – have left a “legacy” of some 6,327 homes needing to be rebuilt. The terrorists set fire to 2,269 homes, partially damaged 3,950 apartments and bombed another 108. In collaboration with other organizations, ACN is helping to rebuild these homes, starting with those that are least damaged. In fact, 47 are already rebuilt in Sector E of the city. “The families are responding to this signal of hope and are beginning to return,” Father Georges remarks. “In Baghdeda 600 families have already returned. And then we have around 120 workers who have already transferred here to work on their homes while their families are still waiting in Erbil to be able to rejoin them. The children especially are so happy to be able to return home”, he adds.

Last May in Qaraqosh. The inhabitants looked at what was done to their houses by ISIS. Though hope is back, there is still a lot to do.


In order to be able to bring life back to Baghdeda, the water and electricity networks are gradually being repaired. “The electricity supply is slowly returning. The government in Baghdad has repaired the old generators and purchased 15 new ones, which are still not enough, however. In fact, we would need at least another 150. The terrorists of the Islamic State also damaged the water supply network and in some areas of the town, there is still no water. The authorities really need some form of earthmoving equipment, which we have not got, however”, Father Jahola explains.


The real beating heart of the reconstruction effort in Baghdeda is precisely here, in the offices of the Syriac Catholic team, led by Father George. “Every day we receive phone calls from Christian families who want to return home. Our engineers go and check on the structural condition of their homes and record the damage. Then they return to the office here and register the data recorded in the survey. More and more families are asking us to provide a cost estimate for the repair of their homes – in fact on account of the many requests in the last few days we have even had to engage two more engineers.”


Other villages in line


Despite the difficulties, other Christian families are now slowly returning to other places too, including Bartella, a majority Syriac Orthodox town on the Nineveh plains. Of the 650 families who lived here before the invasion of IS, 24 have now already returned. In this town, which was occupied from 6 August 2014 until 20 October 2016, IS burnt down 69 homes belonging to Syriac Catholic families, damaged 274 and totally destroyed 19. Father Benham Benoka of the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee is overseeing the reconstruction of these homes in Bartella. As in Baghdeda, a team of engineers visits the homes, surveys the structural damage and provides a cost estimate. “This is the home of Dhiya Behnam Nuna, and it was built on the ruins of old Bartella”, explains Father Benoka. “The terrorists smashed holes in the walls of the apartments, so they could move from house to house without being spotted by the American helicopters”, he explains, as we walk from house to house through these very same holes in the house walls.

Hope to return home is clear for the children or Mariana school. A dream that will become true only with the help of the Universal Church.


The ground is covered with all kinds of ruined items – holy pictures, items of clothing, mattresses and pieces of furniture. It seems impossible that anyone could come back to live here. Yet there is an engineer measuring the size of the holes in the walls. Before long, Mr Dhiya Behnam Nuna will have new windows in his house.


The challenges facing Christians in the Nineveh Plains are enormous.  Currently, the count of registered families who have fled from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains living in Erbil is 14,000 (approximately 90,000 people); nearly 13,000 homes require rebuilding; there are security concerns in the villages; there are Kurdish-Iraqi political manoeuvrings on the ground; infrastructure concerns (water, electricity, roads, schools and clinics)… At the top of the list of concerns is the transition period between the end of monthly rentals and food packages and the move of these families to the restored villages. Drawing from the most recent surveys updated by the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee on July 14, 2017, 1228 families have already returned to Nineveh Plains and 423 properties are under renovation of which 157 have been restored through financial contributions by ACN.


Since the crisis began in the summer of 2014, Aid to the Church in Need has provided ongoing support to the Christian refugees in northern Iraq. To date, a total of 45 million dollars has been donated for emergency aid including food, education, housing, pastoral help and reconstruction.


Press Release – Syrian Children appeal for Peace

06.10.2016 in ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Children, European Union, PAIX, Peace, Syria, United Nations




More than one million children sign an appeal for peace


Damascus/Montreal Thursday, October 6,  2016 –These days, children at more than 2,000 schools all over Syria are drawing and writing messages to the political decision makers of the European Union and United Nations under the motto “Peace for Children.”


Initiative oecuménique et interreligieuse, la signature par les enfants syriens d'une pétition destinée à l'Union européenne et aux Nations-Unies est un appel au monde pour qu'advienne la paix en Syrie.

This appeal for peace is a joint campaign being carried out by Catholic and Orthodox Christians in Syria and members of all religious communities have been invited to take part.


Children of all Christian denominations in Damascus, Homs, Yabroud, Aleppo, Marmarita and Tartus are making October 6 a joint Action Day for Peace. They are expressing their desire for peace through songs, dance, theatrical performances, prayers and other activities. Several children in Aleppo will also share their personal experiences. Sister Annie Demerjian, one of the local organizers of the event, said, “When a child talks about losing his father, for example, we will follow it up by praying for all children in Syria who have lost parents or siblings.” The main ceremony will be held in Damascus on Friday October 7 and it will be attended by groups of 50-75 children from each of the country’s major centres.


“Give us our childhood!”


The Syrian Children’s Petition for Peace“I am extremely touched by the event to which numerous parishes of the local Church are participants, and happy that our organization can collaborate with them,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need Canada. “The children are the future of the country, and this action recalls that they do not wish to go overseas: they want to stay – as do their parents – to rebuild what these five years of incomprehensible war have created.  It is time that the international community listen to the cries from the hearts of the littlest!” insists Mrs Lalonde.  “I invite all Canadians to sign on the micro-website: https://acnmercy.org/syrian-children/,  the petition will be remitted to European and international bodies.”


Syrian schoolchildren – also including many Muslims – are writing messages to the global community on white balloons. These include such messages as “We want peace!”, “Give us our childhood!”, “We don’t want any more war!” and “We want to go to school!”


Thousands of children in Syria have been killed during the war. According to data provided by the Oxford Research Group, more than 11,500 children died in the first two years of the conflict alone. Half of the 11.4 million Syrians who have fled inside or outside of the country are underage minors. More than 2.1 million Syrian children are unable to attend school because of the war. Many children are severely traumatized. Children are frequent victims, not only of direct acts of war, but of abductions, torture and sexual exploitation.


The children’s campaign for Peace arose from an initiative of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Since the conflict began in March of 2011, the international pastoral charity has been active in supporting the victims of the war and providing financial support, in particular for families who have lost their homes, have been forced to flee within the country or have been displaced. Aid is primarily granted to projects that secure the immediate survival of the people, and especially of children and babies. A sizable amount of the financial aid is used to procure accommodations for what are in general large families with many children, to supply essential foods and medicines as well as baby formula and diapers, warm winter clothing and heating oil and electricity. It is also being used to ensure that children can attend school. The aid is provided directly to the families in need, irrespective of their religious affiliation, through Catholic bishops and local church structures. Over the past five years, emergency aid amounting to approximately 19 million CAD has been granted.

*Sign-up to pray with them at https://acnmercy.org/syrian-children/


This can be done by simply entering your name and email address and clicking the ‘Pray‘ button below.  Thank you for supporting the voices of children in Syria for Peace.




International Prayer! 1 Million Children Praying the Rosary

05.10.2016 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Children, Children, Pastoral work, Peace, Prayer, Press Release




Children Praying the Rosary

More than ever: Pray for Peace and Unity

Montreal, Wednesday October 5 – Again this year, Aid to the Church in Need is supporting the One Million Children Pray the Rosary* campaign, an international event with participation also across Canada taking place Tuesday, October 18.

Since the inception of this initiative born in Venezuela in 2005, the international organization has been attracted to the idea of uniting children together to pray for peace in the world.  In Canada, several pastoral services, dioceses and parishes, will participate in the nearing event.  “We want to share this initiative which represents our mission so well, year after year,” explains Marie-Claude Lalonde, the pontifical charities’ national director. “Even more so given what is happening in Syria at the moment, in Iraq and in the Democratic Republic of Congo making praying for peace and for unity in the world an essential part of Christian life.”


Christians also have a few more reasons to be touched by this call to prayer, particularly because it is a question of religious persecution, as the upcoming Report on Religious Freedom will demonstrate when it is launched this November. “In many countries, Christians are a minority and experience persecution.  It is our duty to do what we can to help them, if only to pray for them,” explains Mrs Lalonde.


This prayer initiative connects to one of the goals Aid to the Church in Need has – which is to pray for Christians who are poor, isolated and persecuted throughout the world, as well as to stay informed about their situation and act on their behalf.


Material available!

In order to support our parishes, schools and Catholic spiritual centres, or other organizations who wish to participate in this pastoral initiative; the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need has material made for children and their guides: a leaflet and a letter for children, a poster and decade Rosaries among others.

We invite anyone interested to contact us, at 1 (800) 585- 6333 or (514) 932-0552 or send an email to info@acn-aed-ca.org to request the free material.


*Witnessing children praying the Rosary before the Virgin Mary in Caracas (the capital of Venezuela) a few women felt the strong presence of the Holy Mother and became aware of the power of the children’s prayer.  What followed was the launch of this great prayer initiative.


1er Juin: les enfants réunis dans les ruines de la cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix à Homs, prient pour la paix en Syrie.

June 1st, 2016:  Children at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in Homs, Syria – Praying together for Peace. 


By Mario Bard, Aid to the Church in Need Canada

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin





Syria : “God, give us peace!”

09.06.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN Feature, ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Eva-Maria Kolmann, Children, Feature Story, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Middle East, Syria


 “God, give us peace!”


Thousands of children in Syria celebrated “International Children’s Day” as a prayer day for peace


On June 1, thousands of children of all denominations gathered in several Syrian cities to celebrate “International Children’s Day” as a prayer day for peace. In Homs, this was the first public event held with children since the liberation of the city. From there, the Christian television station “Tele Lumière” broadcast the initiative all over the Middle East. More than 700 children dressed in white gathered together with the Catholic and Orthodox bishops in what was once a city under siege, a city in which Jesuit father Frans van der Lugt was murdered in April of 2014. They made their way through the city in a procession, stopping to pray together at the churches of the various Christian denominations.


Christian children from different confessions, gathered in all the country to pray for peace, June 1st 2016

Children from different confessions, gathered throughout  the country to pray for peace, on June 1st 2016


Bishop Abdo Arbach, the Melkite Greek Catholic bishop of Homs, held an address that has been relayed to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). He said: “We have had enough of war, of destruction, of child trafficking. We want to live, we want to enrich our children with a good upbringing. (…) We will never accept that they have to live without hope and far away from their homes!” He appealed to the international community “that this war may end and that they act as per human rights charter and children’s rights. God, give us peace!”


The destroyed Melkite Greek Catholic cathedral, which is consecrated to “Our Lady, Queen of Peace”, was adorned with a monumental poster of the Infant Jesus of Prague. In the Melkite cathedral, the bishops joined the children in a prayer to the Infant Jesus. Bishop Arbach said that the Infant Jesus is “the source of peace for our children and our country because His greeting is ‘Peace be with you’.” They also lit candles before a statue of the Infant Jesus.


Similar events, which continued throughout the day, were also simultaneously held in Damascus, Tartus, Marmarita and Aleppo. “We hope that these children’s initiative spreads and many other children all over the world pray for peace,” the Maronite bishop of Latakia and Tartus, Msgr. Antoine Chbeir, said to the pastoral charity. In Tartus, children also showed posters they had drawn, in which they asked for prayers for peace as well as the end of terrorism and the war in Syria.


The message from the Syrian children is clear (June 1st 2016).

The message to the world from Syrian children is clear (June 1st 2016).


Peace procession and Prayer day in Syria on the Day of the Child, 01.06.2016

Procession for peace in Tartous, Syria

During the Angelus prayer on May 29, Pope Francis had invited children all over the world to join the children in Syria in their prayer for peace. The Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of the country issued a joint message calling upon children to observe this prayer day, which began as an initiative of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need.  


The organization  sent close to 8 million dollars in help for Syrians in 2015





Catholic and Orthodox representatives gathering together with the children in Homs for peace procession, prayer and activities on the “International Day of the Child” on 1th of June 2016. Here, in the greatly destroied church of Our Lady, Queen of peace.

Catholic and Orthodox representatives gathered together with children in Homs , for peace procession, prayer and activities on the “International Day of the Child” on 1st of June 201 in the church ruins of Our Lady, Queen of Peace.           











A call to prayer on International Children’s Day

30.05.2016 in ACN Canada, Children, Children, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Peace, Persecution of Christians, Prayer, Syria

International Children’s Day 

Pope Francis invites children all over the world to join peace prayer for Syria

Several hundred children will gather in each of the cities Syrian cities of Damascus, Homs, Tartus, Marmarita and Aleppo to pray together, for peace.

In Rome, during the Angelus prayer on Sunday ( May 29) in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis drew attention to the children in Syria who will be holding a prayer day for peace in Syria on June 1 – “International Children’s Day.” The Holy Father invited the world’s children to take part in this global prayer campaign saying:  “Syrian children invite the children of the world to join their prayer for peace.”

In a joint message, the Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of the country took up the initiative of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to observe this day as a children’s day of prayer for peace. Father Andrzej Halemba, head of the Middle East section of Aid to the Church in Need, said, “Children are the most pitiful victims of this war, but they’re also the ones who are closer to God, their appeal will be heard by God, and hopefully it will move the hearts of those waging this war.”


IRAQ / NATIONAL 15/00296 Financial aid to rent houses during six months for IDP Christian families living in the province of Erbil (04/ 2016 - 06/ 2016) IRAQ / NATIONAL 15/00292 PrID 1506280 Financial aid to rent houses during six months for IDP Christian families living in the province of Erbil (01/ 2016 - 03/ 2016) Father Andrzej Halemba (project officer for Middle East at ACN) and Mr Aimery de Verac ( working as a kind of freelance auditor for ACN´s major projects in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon) visiting the IPD Christian families in the village of Ozal, 30.10.2015: Little displaced boy in one of the houses rent with the help of ACN

“Several hundred children will gather in each of the cities Syrian cities of Damascus, Homs, Tartus, Marmarita and Aleppo to pray together for peace. Throughout the day, various events and joint prayers will be held, including processions for peace, during which the children will carry pictures and statues of the Christ child dressed as a king, bearing a globe in His left hand and blessing the world with the right.” The patriarchs have chosen the Christ child to be the “patron” of this day of prayer for peace because He “came to bring peace” and was heralded by the Prophet Isaiah as the “Prince of Peace”. They said that children all over the world – especially in schools and parishes – should participate in this campaign.


Aid to the Church in Need has a joint letter written to Pope Francis by Bishop Abdo Arbach, the Melkite Catholic bishop of Homs, and the Orthodox Bishop Selvanos of Homs in the name of all of the city’s children. In this letter, the children thank the pope for his efforts for peace in Syria and ask for his prayers and “to save them from the maelstrom of hate, from the behemoths of wrath and from those who deal with human organs,” because they, the children, are “the first victims of these crimes.” They also wrote, “We would like to see our country once again become the country of happiness and love it used to be, in which we will plant olive trees and sow wheat, and in which there is no burnt soil on which the canons and rocket launchers of hate stand.”


ACN-20160401-38805 (1)Jesus our Lord, bless the children 

Hold them to your heart

You who have promised them the Kingdom of Heaven

To those who would be as they are.

– Christian Patriarchs of Syria-


By Eva Maria Kolmann, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need  Canada