Iraq – Rebuilding with The Pope’s Lamborghini profits! – ACN-News

26.02.2019 in ACN International, ACN NEWS, ACN PROJECTS, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Marta Petrosillo, By Marta Petrosillo, Communiqué, Construction, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Iraq, Journey with ACN, Middle East, Reconstruction

Aid to the Church in Need in Iraq

Rebuilding with The Pope’s Lamborghini profits!

Montreal, February 26thThanks to a donation of 300 000 dollars from the Holy Father, following the auctioning of the Lamborghini that was given to him last year, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will be able to fund two new projects on behalf of the Iraqi Christian families and other minorities who have returned to their homes on the Nineveh Plains.

Marta Petrosillo for ACN-International and Mario Bard, ACN-Canada

On 15 November 2017 the Holy Father decided to give ACN part of the proceeds from the auctioning of the Lamborghini Hurricane that had been donated to him by the famous Italian carmaker. Now ACN will give concrete form to the Pope’s gesture by funding the reconstruction of two buildings of the Syriac Catholic Church, destroyed by the war. They are the nursery school (kindergarten) of Our Lady and the multipurpose centre of the parish of the same name.

Both buildings are in the village of Bashiqa, just 30 km from Mosul. The village was badly damaged during the war, but the Christian community has returned, and in large numbers. In facts by now, 405 of the 580 homes that were destroyed here have already been rebuilt and around 50% of the Christians, or 1,585 people, have already returned.

The Parish Hall was totally destroyed.

The two projects funded with money from the Lamborghini will also benefit the other minorities in the town, since the multipurpose centre, which has capacity for over 1,000 people, will be used for weddings and the religious feasts of all the different communities. It will be the largest such centre in the area and will be available for use to over 30,000 people of all different faiths and ethnic groups.

The Return of Iraqi Christians: An Unexpected Success!


Just a little over two years since the liberation of the villages of the Nineveh Plains, the number of Christians who have been able to return to their homes has exceeded even the most optimistic predictions. By January 11th this year at least 9108 families had returned to their villages, almost 46% of the 19,832 families dwelling there in 2014 prior to the arrival of the so-called Islamic State (IS). This is thanks above all to the immense work of reconstruction – to which ACN have greatly contributed – that has made it possible so far to rebuild or repair some 41% of the 14,035 homes
destroyed or damaged by IS.

This intervention, in which the pontifical foundation ACN has played a major role in collaboration with the local Churches, has also found a generous benefactor in the person of the Holy Father. Already back in 2016 Pope Francis gave 150,000 dollars in support of the “Saint Joseph Charity Clinic” in Erbil, which provides free medical assistance.

This most recent gift by the Holy Father will be a further help to local Christians, enabling them to live their own faith and offer a future in Iraq to their children. At the same time it is a powerful message and an invitation to peaceful coexistence between the different religions in a region where fundamentalism has sadly damaged interreligious relations.


Since 2014 and up to the present day ACN has given over 60 million dollars for the support of Iraqi Christians.
Thanks to you, Christians in Iraq can return home.
Thank you!

Iraq: New hope for Christians in Iraq!

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.  



27.09.2016 in ACN International, ACN UK, Adaptation Mario Bard, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, AED Canada, Aide à l’Église en détresse., By Mario Bard, Chaldean Catholic, Communiqué, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Irak, Iraq, John Pontifex, Mgr Louis Sako, Moyen-Orient, Persecution of Christians, Refugees, Voyager avec l’AED



Is hope reborn?

Montreal/Surrey, September 27, 2016  – If the town of Mosul is taken back from the hands of Daesh (ISIS), the event might pave the way for Christians of Iraq to return home to the Nineveh Plains, to their ancestral home.  It is at least the hope of the leading bishops and other lay organizers in the local Church who wish to establish an agreement with the Iraqi government on the subject.

Mgr Louis Sako 1er, Patriarche chaldéen de Bagdad. Selon lui, « fournir une protection légale » est essentielle pour les chrétiens qui reviendraient à Mossoul.

Msgr Louis Sako Chaldean Patriarch of  Baghdad. 

A delegation led by Aid to the Church in Need arrived in early September to the North of Iraqi Kurdistan – where half of the country’s 250,000 Christians live in present day Iraq.  The delegation met with many people displaced from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains who had fled the Islamic State in August 2014.

Along with providing emergency help, the delegation found that the local Church is in the process of developing proposals which will enable Christians to return to their towns and villages which were previously taken from them.

The delegation had the opportunity to speak with Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, Msgr Louis Raphael I Sako, the spiritual leader of the largest Christian community in Iraq.  According to him, it is essential that, in the case of the now imminent liberation of Mosul – Christians may return to their village where at one time, they made up a strong minority.

“Freeing Mosul and Nineveh from ISIS might be a glimmer of hope for native residents to return home with the condition of providing legal protection for them, and also granting them the necessary time to rebuild trust with their neighbours.

“Otherwise, the “hemorrhage” outflow of migration [of Christians] will continue, even from safe areas, which is a very serious sign,” said the Patriarch.

The Christian population of Iraq numbered over one million inhabitants prior to the fall of Iraq’s former president, Saddam Hussein.


A real sense of hope returning

“I sensed much more hope among Church leaders and faithful than I did on my visit last year,” declared Neville Kirke-Smith, director of the UK office of Aid to the Church in Need and member of the delegation which brought with them aid for at least 100,000 people. “It is clear that the Church is making a strong case to reclaim its place in a region where – until 2014 – there had been an unbroken Christian presence stretching back almost to the start of Christianity.”
“This is indeed really good news reported to us by our colleagues!” said Marie-Claude Lalonde, national director of the Canadian office of the international organization. « To be frank, I was beginning to lose hope, especially because few government bodies around the world are prepared to recognize the tragedy underway in Iraq where Christians are living.  Massive waves of immigration are progressively emptying the country of an inestimable inheritance, and Christianity is in danger of losing the first Christian community in its history.  Aid to the Church in Need will stand by the Church in Iraq as long as they will need us to help them rebuild. ““This is a commitment that we made long ago. Hopefully, more Canadians will help us achieve this goal that we have to strengthen the Church in Iraq. “

” The delegation also went to Alqosh,” reported Mrs Lalonde.

“Our colleagues had the opportunity to visit this ancient which is completely Christian and situated about 10 minutes from the front with ISIS.  The people have displayed their determination to stay where they are and to save their village and the Church.”

Une dame déplacées âgées de 89 ans.

An 89 year old woman.

For his part, Mr. Kyrke-Smith had the opportunity to meet Msgr. Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Bishop of Erbil.  Msgr Warda has partnered with Aid to the Church in Need to help distribute emergency aid.  “For nearly 2,000 years we Christians have been present on the Nineveh Plains and to return we need international protection,” he said.

According to the bishop, “The Iraqi army needs to be a united force and the Peshmerga [Kurdish military] will help, with outside support. Military action as reconciliation work needs to be done. As Christians we have no involvement in violence – we have suffered – so we can help rebuild.”

Des dames déplacées au camp d'Ankawa, dans la région d'Erbil.

Women displaced to a refugee camp in Ankawa, in the Erbil area.


Since August 2014, Aid to the Church in Need has supported 100,000 Christians displaced by the advances of the Islamic State.  Over 9 million dollars were given in emergency aid and for the construction of infrastructure for schools so that the children will not be a generation lost to war.  The Catholic organization also provided support for the spiritual lives of the population – by helping priests, Sisters, supporting the training of seminarians and the construction of a chapel in the refugee camp.


By Mario Bard and John Pontifex,
Aid to the Church in Need Canada/ ACN international

Translation and adaptation, Amanda Bridget Griffin ACN Canada


François en Centrafrique : journée de prière

19.11.2015 in Adaptation Mario Bard, AED Canada, AFRIQUE, Aide à l’Église en détresse., Centrafrique, Communiqué, Pape François, Prière

République centrafricaine 

Ce serait un drame si le Pape ne pouvait pas venirCentral African Republic - Project trip November 2015


Aide à l’Église en Détresse (AED) appelle ses bienfaiteurs à prier,
ce dimanche 22 novembre, pour la venue du Pape et ce,
en dépit des dernières violences.


Les 29 et 30 novembre, le Pape François doit se rendre en Centrafrique mais la reprise des violences à Bangui depuis le 29 octobre dernier pourrait annuler son voyage. Pour les Centrafricains, ce serait un drame de plus. Consciente de cet enjeu, l’AED lance une journée mondiale de prière le dimanche 22 novembre à midi pour le rétablissement de la paix dans le pays et la venue du Pape.


Une délégation de l’AED, qui revient de Bangui, témoigne des violences qui se poursuivent à Bangui. « Nous avons assisté à un véritable exode, le jour où les violences reprenaient dans l’un des quartiers (Cattin). Les gens fuyaient avec tout ce qu’ils pouvaient, tandis que d’autres pillaient ce qu’il restait des maisons abandonnées. » Le jour de la Toussaint, le curé de la paroisse St Joseph de Mukassa a, quant à lui, vu son église se vider des trois quart de ses paroissiens.


Au milieu de ces violences, l’attente du Pape se fait de plus en plus grande, « les yeux du monde vont être enfin tournés vers la Centrafrique » expliquent les habitants.

 Voici quelques témoignages de ceux et celles qui attendent cette visite avec impatience. 


Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga, archevêque de Bangui. « C'est le pape des pauvres qui vient visiter les pauvres. »

Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga, archevêque de Bangui. « C’est le pape des pauvres qui vient visiter les pauvres. »

Pour Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga, archevêque de Bangui  : « Nous attendons de cette venue un message de paix, de réconciliation et surtout de miséricorde. C’est le Pape des pauvres qui vient visiter les pauvres. La Centrafrique est un pays pauvre, un pays oublié, un pays démuni, un pays abandonné.»















Soeur Prisca, paroisse Notre-Dame d'Afrique, Bangui. « La venue du pape peut nous apporter un témoignage de paix. »

Soeur Prisca, paroisse Notre-Dame d’Afrique, Bangui. « La venue du pape peut nous apporter un témoignage de paix. »

Sœur Prisca, religieuse de la paroisse Notre-Dame d’Afrique à Bangui, témoigne  : « Notre pays a beaucoup souffert ces trois dernières années. La venue du Pape François peut nous apporter un témoignage de paix, c’est ce que le peuple centrafricain attend. J’attends aussi qu’il nous invite, nous personnes consacrées, à aller davantage porter la bonne nouvelle à ceux qui massacrent leurs frères et sœurs, à aller parler de paix et de réconciliation. »
















Christian, président du comité paroissial St Sauveur : « Ce que nous attendons de la venue du Pape, c’est qu’il apporte une cohésion sociale entre chrétiens et musulmans. Nous aimerions nous, jeunes centrafricains, pouvoir accéder au développement de la République centrafricaine. »


Pour Christine du Coudray, responsable des projets de l’AED en Afrique, la visite du pape est d’une importance capitale. « Ce serait un drame si la visite du Pape François était annulée. Ce serait une humiliation pour le pays et pour son peuple. La République centrafricaine est un pays oublié. La population est en proie à la violence depuis des années. Il est capital que le Pape vienne et mette fin au cycle de violence. Le Pape représente pour les chrétiens et même les musulmans l’espoir d’un avenir meilleur.»


Pour Mgr Franco Coppola, le Nonce apostolique à Bangui : « Le Saint Père veut, à travers cette visite, rappeler au monde entier la difficulté dans laquelle se trouve la Centrafrique, qui essaie de toutes ses forces de s’en sortir.»


 L’Église catholique joue un rôle crucial auprès de la population chrétienne ( 66 %) mais aussi musulmane « Sans l’Église, la situation serait beaucoup moins stable. Mgr Nzapalainga est une figure d’autorité charismatique et respectée. Nous avons vu comment il parvient à calmer la situation dans les zones de conflit. », poursuit Christine du Coudray.  Les prêtres et les religieux sont aussi très appréciés des chrétiens comme des musulmans, car ils restent fidèles auprès de la population malgré le danger.


L’AED a versé plus de 2,9 millions de dollars canadiens en Centrafrique depuis 2013, notamment pour aider les déplacés (près du quart de la population du pays, soit 1 million).


Prière à Notre-Dame d'Afrique

Prière à Notre-Dame d’Afrique

À midi le 22 novembre prochain, les 600 000 bienfaiteurs et amis de l’AED sont appelés à se joindre
à la Journée mondiale de prière pour la venue du Pape en Centrafrique en lisant cette prière :



Seigneur notre Dieu, nous te rendons grâce,

Pour le Pape François qui viendra en Centrafrique.

Guide ses pas sur les chemins du monde et de notre pays.

Inspire toutes ses paroles et ses actions.

Pour qu’il annonce à toutes les nations ton amour et ta miséricorde.

Dieu de Miséricorde, dans toutes nos souffrances, tu as eu pitié de nous ;

Et tu envoies le Pape François pour nous manifester ton amour.

Aide-nous à suivre le chemin des vrais chrétiens qu’il nous enseigne.

Libère nos cœurs de l’orgueil et de la méchanceté,

Pour que nous suivions ensemble le chemin de la paix.

Dieu de Paix, toi qui protège tes serviteurs,

Fais que la visite du Pape François dans notre pays,

Donne une nouvelle vigueur aux Evêques et aux autorités de notre pays ;

Donne une nouvelle sagesse aux enfants, aux jeunes, aux hommes et aux femmes.

Pour que nous œuvrions ensemble pour l’épanouissement de notre Église et de notre pays.

Sainte Marie, toi qui est une bonne Mère de Famille ;

Prie pour les pères et les mères qui sont les chefs de familles :

Pour qu’ils donnent une bonne éducation à leurs enfants.

Nos familles deviendront alors des familles de paix ;

Et nous pourrons accueillir le pape François dans la joie et la paix.

Nous te le demandons,

Par ton Fils Jésus Christ, notre Seigneur !