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FORMATION

 

Honduras – 3000 Bibles and 3000 copies of the “DOCAT”

12.06.2019 in ACN PROJECTS, FORMATION, Honduras

Honduras is the second largest country in Central America. With the exception of those countries where there are ongoing wars, it has the unenviable distinction of having the second highest number of murders anywhere, second only to its close neighbour, El Salvador.

Violence is an ever-present reality, with robberies, murders and abductions a daily occurrence. Gang warfare, drug cartels and crime have made it a dangerous country to live in. The social inequalities are glaringly apparent, and around 70% of the population currently live below the poverty threshold. Many people, especially the young, dream only of leaving the country.

Although only 37% of the population is Catholic – an extremely low percentage for Latin America – the Catholic Church is one of the few signs of hope in this violence-plagued land, in which many people can see no future for themselves. But at the same time the Church herself faces massive problems, including the fact that within the last 50 years the population has grown from 2.5 to 9 million souls. Hence there is a great need for pastoral care and evangelization, but far too few priests to minister to all the people. Lay catechists play a vital role here, but there is also a great shortage of these well-instructed laity.

ACN is helping by sending 3000 Bibles and 3000 copies of the DOCAT – a handbook of the Social Teaching of the Church aimed specially at young people. For the formation of young people is very important, above all in a country facing so many major social problems, so that they can help contribute to a better and more humane society in the future. ACN would like to help with 34,500 dollars towards the cost of these books.

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

ACN’s Project of the Week – Support for the Catholic the families in Togo

07.03.2019 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Africa, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Eva-Maria Kolmann, Family Apostolate, FORMATION, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Togo

The Fédération Africaine d’Action Familiale (FAAF, or African Family Life Federation) is an initiative for the support of healthy families and the protection of life. It involves doctors of various disciplines, theologians, priests, religious and lay pastoral workers. Its aim is to support families and help them to tackle their problems, offering Africa-friendly, family-friendly and pro-life solutions, as opposed to the alien Western-style solutions which many Africans have by now seen through as a “culture of death.” Instead, they seek to promote a “culture of life” of the kind so frequently referred to by the late Pope Saint John Paul II.

In Togo – West Africa –, the programs of the FAAF have been established since 2005. In the diocese of Aneho in the southeast of the country there are five people who have been involved up to now, for example in giving introductory talks and sessions in the parishes, so as to encourage more people to become aware of issues surrounding marriage and the family and train them to be able to accompany families and married couples.

 

The meetings address such questions as, “What is God‘s plan for marriage?” and “What does it mean to be a mother or a father?” Couples are encouraged to talk together and grow in mutual love and respect. Another important aspect is natural family planning, which observes and respects the natural fertility cycle of the woman. Husbands also learn in this way to respect their wives and respect their bodies. The goal is an education in love, which emphasizes the beauty and value of human sexuality and the human body and the importance of fidelity and responsibility and openness to life. It is the best way to counter such evils as abortion and the spread of AIDS. At the same time, the program aims to help and accompany families and married couples in conflict and crisis.

 

There is a great demand for these talks and for personal counselling, and they are hoping to be able to train up 10 more female counsellors. Printed information materials are also needed.
Aid to the Church in Need has promised 17,500 dollars in support of this laudable initiative.

 

Make your donation now to support family education training in Togo. Thank you very much for your generosity.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

ACN-Projects of the week – India – Help for the formation of 15 novices Sisters

20.02.2019 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Asia, By Eva-Maria Kolmann, FORMATION, India, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Sisters

India

Help for the formation of 15 novices of the Holy Spirit Sisters

 

The Holy Spirit Sisters are a congregation founded in 1950 in Germany. They work above all in pastoral care and their role is to support the priests in their work. Right from the start it was the desire of their founder that these religious sisters should be given a thorough theological formation, so that they could fulfil this mission as well as possible.

 

The sisters give catechetical instruction, prepare children, young people and adults to receive the sacraments and organize prayer meetings. They also visit the sick, poor families and the needy, and help them in their difficulties.

 

One of the pastoral work is to visit families.

In the two regional provinces of the congregation in India, namely Atmadhara and Jeevadhara, there are a total of 207 religious sisters in a region that covers seven of India’s federal states. In the state of Odisha, which until 2011 was called Orissa and which became notorious in the year 2005 on account of the violent and unprovoked attacks against Christians there, the sisters run a hostel or boarding home for 40 schoolgirls whose homes are too far from the nearest school and who would therefore be unable to attend school otherwise. The girls belong to various faiths and ethnic communities, and the sisters seek to convey genuine Christian values to them while teaching them mutual respect, so that their boarding home is at the same time making a contribution to peaceful coexistence among the various religions and ethnic communities in the country.

 

 

 

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At the present time the Holy Spirit Sisters have 15 young novices undergoing training. Aid to the Church in Need have promised the congregation $6,750 to help with the cost of their formation. Thank to help us to help them!

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

 

ACN Project of the Week – Kazakhstan – Books for the Seminarists

07.02.2019 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By ACN Project Services, By Mario Bard, FORMATION, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN

Kazakhstan

Books for the seminary in Karaganda

 

Kazakhstan is a vast country, covering an area of well over 1 million square miles (2.7 million km²), or the equivalent of more than a quarter of the size of the entire United States! Yet it has a population of just 18 million. A former Soviet republic, it has been an independent state since 1991.

 

The population of the country is 70% Muslim and around 25% are Christians, most of whom belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. Catholics make up only a tiny minority of some 300,000 souls. At present there are barely 100 Catholic priests for the entire country, serving in the four dioceses of Kazakhstan. Most of these are the descendants of former Polish, German, Baltic or Ukrainian people, deported here under Stalin and others.

 

Kazakhstan is today an exceptional and happy example of friendly coexistence between the Catholic and Orthodox Christians and there are many positive encounters and joint initiatives between them. Therefore, it was, just recently, for the feast of the Orthodox Christmas, which falls on 7 January. Bishop Jose Luis Mumbiela Sierra of the diocese of the Most Holy Trinity in Almaty, who is also chairman of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Kazakhstan, met together with Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Alexander to congratulate him and express his best Christmas wishes on behalf of all the Catholic bishops, priests and faithful in the country. Gifts were exchanged and the two men spoke together about some of the important issues facing both Churches at the present time.

 

The challenges facing Christians today are also keenly felt by 12 young men currently preparing for ordination to the priesthood in the seminary in Karaganda – the only Catholic seminary in the country. The seminary has asked for our help in providing theological books for the seminary, so that these future priests can enjoy a solid and rounded formation. We have promised $2,250.

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

ACN Project of the Week: Formation for young sisters in Brazil

01.11.2018 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Brazil, FORMATION, South America

Brazil

Help for the formation of 50 young religious Sisters

 

It was only 30 years ago that the religious Institute the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matarà was founded in Argentina. Yet since then it has spread throughout the world, with 160 convents in 35 different countries on all five continents around the globe – such is the measure of its success to date. 

 

A particular feature of the Institute is its love for the Eucharist, the Mother of God and the Holy Father. The apostolate of the sisters covers a wide field – helping the priests in the parishes, giving retreats and catechetical instruction, teaching in schools, working in the youth apostolate. They also give selfless service in orphanages, homes, old people‘s homes for disabled children and hospitals. Some of the sisters also support expectant mothers in conflict situations, helping them to bring their children safely into the world. A number of them are also involved in the publication of theological books and literature.

The Institute continues to attract many new vocations, particularly in Brazil. Here, the birthplace of the samba, there are 50 young women currently in formation. They need our support so that they can receive a sound and solid training for the religious life and apostolate they will be engaged in. We have promised to help this year with a contribution of $17,145.

 

Thank you!

 

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

Project of the Week in Peru – Help for training in the Amazon region

02.08.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, FORMATION, Peru, SEMINARIANS

Success story in Peru

Help for the training of 19 seminarians in the Amazon region

PERU / YURIMAGUAS 17/00189
Training of 23 seminarians in the diocesan seminary Cristo Salvador, 2017. Photo: Begining course in philosophy and theology with Mgr. José Luis Astigarraga (Bishop emeritus of Yurimaguas – died on 20.01.2017).

 

 

The apostolic vicariate of Yurimaguas in the east of Peru is situated for the most part in the Amazon rainforest, in an area that is home to various different indigenous groups.

The 224,000 or so Catholics in this region live scattered over an area greater than many of the smaller European countries. There are just 25 priests to care for them, all of whom face long, difficult and dangerous journeys as part and parcel of their mission.

Consequently, one of the greatest needs of the vicariate is for more priests to help in the task of ministering to the Catholic faithful, bringing them the sacraments and caring for them pastorally.

And so the vicariate has established a vocations apostolate, which is already bearing fruit. There, 19 young men are currently preparing for ordination. Seven of them are still in their two preparatory years at the propaedeutic seminary of Yurimaguas, while the remaining 12 are already studying at the seminary in the diocese of Callao, near the capital, Lima.

PERU / YURIMAGUAS 
Training of 23 seminarians in the diocesan seminary Cristo Salvador, 2017. Photo: Admission ad ordines with Mgr. José Luis del Palacio.

In years gone by, missionaries braved all the adversities of the region and proclaimed the Good News of the Gospel here. But today, their numbers have dwindled and the new, home-grown vocations are coming from the Peruvian people in the parishes they once founded. Being born and brought up in the region, and along with being  ideally suited to working in these climatic conditions as it is their home, they are also linguistically and culturally more apt to working among their own indigenous peoples of the rainforest for they are more likely to be aware of their needs and how best to support them .

We are only too happy to support these 19 young men on their path to the priesthood and have promised $8,530 towards the cost of their training.

ACN’s Project of the Week: Formation of three priests in Lebanon

21.02.2018 in ACN PROJECTS, FORMATION, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Lebanon, Middle East, SEMINARIANS

Lebanon

Formation of three priests from the archdiocese of Baalbek

 

Not so long ago Lebanon was the only country in the Middle East with a Christian majority. In recent years this has changed, however, with increasing numbers of Christians leaving the country. Already during the terrible civil war in the country between 1975 and 1990, around 700,000 Christians left the country, and the exodus is continuing today. Now Christians make up only around 34% of the total population, and among younger people aged 25 or younger only a quarter are Christians.

 

In the Maronite archdiocese of Baalbek, in the northeast of the country, the situation is still more critical, for here Christians account for barely 5% of the population. This is a poor region, close to the border with Syria, where the situation is insecure and people are afraid. Those who can do so leave the country and seek a new life elsewhere, in Canada or Australia, for example. Others move away to the capital, Beirut. Only a strong Church that can provide spiritual, pastoral, social and economic support for its faithful can stem the tide of this mass exodus. Clearly, well-trained, young priests play a key role here.

Lebanon, Baalbek-Mar: Formation of 3 seminarians studying at University of Holy Ghost Kasslik – Khalil Berqachi, Chadi Khoury, Marc Rahme

At present there are three young men from the Maronite archdiocese of Baalbek who are training for the priesthood. Archbishop Hanna Rahme has a particular concern for these young men, but lacks the necessary resources. He has turned to Aid to the Church in Need for help, so that they can be given a solid formation and be able to stand by their people as true shepherds. He writes: “I am sure you will be open to this request, especially since the Lord has already blessed us with many good priestly vocations, men who are already working with great apostolic zeal in our diocese. Permit me to say that I am counting on your goodwill and on the missionary kindness of your benefactors.”

We have no doubt that our generous benefactors will rally to the support of these future priests, and so we have already promised the Archbishop 10 500 dollars.

Thank you for your donation !


 

ACN’s Project of the Week ! – Sierra Leone: teaching materials

07.02.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Africa, FORMATION, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Teaching materials for the minor seminary in the diocese of Makeni

 

Sierra Leone is still struggling to emerge from its state of near-permanent crisis. The consequences of the terrible civil war, from 1991 to 2002, are still all too painfully evident to this day. During this civil war, approximately half the population was forced to flee their homes and thousands of people were killed. One still sees people today with a missing arm or foot, hacked off by the rebels of the so-called “Revolutionary United Front”. So many women were raped, and many children born of rape were left to wander the streets, helpless. The economy is ravaged by poverty, unemployment and corruption and today this country of West Africa is still one of the poorest in the world – a poverty only exacerbated by a series of natural disasters, including above all the devastating Ebola epidemic of 2014.

 

While around 70% of the population are Muslims, the Catholic Church is nonetheless widely respected, above all for its many schools and the selfless help it has provided to so many people, regardless of race or religion. At the same time, however, the Church is very careful not to neglect the spiritual and religious dimension, and is accordingly stepping up its efforts to promote vocations and provide a solid formation for its future priests.

Discerning in the prayer: one of the crucial step when priesthood seems to call. 

 

The diocese of Makeni covers a vast area of over 36,000 square kilometres, though it has only 25 parishes. It also has a „minor seminary“ – that is, a form of school that precedes the seminary itself. Here, young boys who feel a calling to the priesthood attend school and are given a normal academic formation. But, in addition to their ordinary schooling, they are also introduced to the religious life. This includes daily Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, regular personal prayer and spiritual accompaniment. Each month there is a retreat day and at the end of each semester the youngsters take part in a longer spiritual retreat. “The spiritual formation is at the heart of their education,” says the rector of the seminary, Father Peter S. Kanu. Attention is also paid to psychological and social-cultural aspects of their formation, since the training for the priesthood has to address the whole person. “Our future priests are being trained not only for the local Church but also for the universal Church,” the rector explains.

 

Many of the 40 priests currently working in the diocese also attended the minor seminary themselves and, happily, every year there are one, two, or even several priestly ordinations in Makeni. This is the fruit of an intensified vocations apostolate. “We spend some time in the parishes and schools, talking about vocations. We believe that this apostolate inspires the desire in the hearts of these boys to devote their lives to God,” Father Peter adds.

 

But now world economic factors are also impacting on the life of the seminary in this desperately poor country. Prices are rising almost daily, and it is a struggle for the seminary to make ends meet. Above all they need school textbooks and Bibles. We are proposing to help the seminary with a contribution of 3,975 dollars, so that they can purchase the necessary materials.

 


Feature Story – Bosnia: The impact of the Sister’s love in an orphanage

29.08.2016 in ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Bosnia Herzegovina, By Rolf Bauerdick, Feature Story, FORMATION, Religious formation, Sisters

Bosnia

“We are here for the children that need us.”

When Katarina leafs through the photo albums from the last two decades with Sisters Admirata and Manda, her joy is tinged by melancholy. The photographs keep memories of Katarina’s happy childhood days alive.

However, the realization that the sheltered days of her youth will soon be over is ever present. Katarina is the oldest child at the “Egipat House” orphanage  belonging to the Sisters Servants of the Child Jesus.

Her parents were refugees during the Bosnian war.  Uprooted, psychologically ill and no longer able to manage day-to-day life. They did not take care of Katarina and her older brother Stipo and left them with their grandmother. “The old lady was completely overwhelmed by the task of raising them,” Sister Admirata recalls, “and so we took the siblings in here.” Katarina was two years old when she came to live with the nuns. Now she is nineteen and getting ready to leave her familiar home. “I am a little nervous about how life will be outside of the home,” she says. Sister Admirata reassures her charge. She knows “Katarina is well-equipped for the grown-up world.”

 

A painting of Mgr. Josip Stadler (1843 – 1918). He's the founder of the orphanage and the Congregation. In addition, he was consider by many as « father of the poors » in his country.

A painting of Msgr. Josip Stadler (1843 -1918),  Considered by many in his country as ” Father of the poor.”

Admirata Lučić is the provincial superior of the religious order, which runs an orphanage and a kindergarten at its convent in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. In the hall, hangs a life-sized painting commemorating Archbishop Josip Stadler (1843 – 1918), to whom the convent owes its existence and its spiritual foundation. Josip Stadler not only founded the religious order in 1890, but also made himself the advocate of neglected children in need by founding exemplary orphanages. At the time, the Sisters chose to give their convent the name “Egypt” to recall the flight of the Infant Jesus from the tyrant, Herod.

 

Today, the Sisters can look back on a history that was both rich in blessings, but also tempestuous, and one which, completely in contradiction to the benign spirit of Josip Stadler, was also quite often shaped by destruction and hatred. The order was expropriated in 1949 under the dictatorship of the Communist party in the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. The convent building was confiscated, the children taken away from the nuns and placed in state-run facilities. “Faith no longer played a role in their upbringing,” Sister Admirata says. “You were no longer allowed to speak to the children of and about God.”In 1992, at the beginning of the Bosnian War, the Serbian military bombed the building into the ground. But, it rose again from out of the ruins.

 

Finding solutions together

Admirata and her twelve sister nuns, who are assisted in their everyday lives by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), are happy to have founded the first post-war orphanage in Bosnia in 1999 where today, 55 boys and girls attend kindergarten, while 19 children live full-time at the orphanage. Children who have lost their parents, or whose father and mother are unable to exercise their parental responsibility, have found in this place a home. Sister Admirata says, “However, we do put great stock in the fact that our kindergarten children not only come from difficult social environments, but also from intact backgrounds. We also have children of diplomats as well as from of middle-class families here.”

 

Katarina’s brother Stipo has already left the orphanage. He trained to become an auto mechanic and is now working for a church agricultural project in the Čardak region. After nine years of schooling, Katarina has also completed training to become a sales assistant and window dresser. “I hope to find a good job.” Her chances of finding work are good. The nuns are currently helping the young woman find an affordable place to live in Sarajevo, which is no easy task. However, Admirata exudes confidence, “we will find a solution together.”

 

Melissa, seven years old, and her brother Omer, eight years old. They are Muslims. In their work, the Sisters are helping and welcoming anyone who needs help, whit no limits about the confessions, like their founder tought.

Seven-year-old Melissa, and her eight-year-old brother Omer are Muslims. The Sisters welcome anyone who needs help, setting no limits on religious confession or background: exactly as did their founder.

Two Muslim children are new arrivals at the orphanage: seven-year-old Melissa and her brother Omer, who is one year older. Their mother moved away, leaving the two alone. Their father took another wife. Their siblings remained behind with their grandfather. Overwhelmed by the task of raising them, the old man went to the Servants of the Infant Jesus for help. His request was not in vain for today Omer and Melissa are attending first grade at the Catholic primary school and are flourishing in terms of their development. By accepting Muslim as well as Orthodox children at “Egipat House”, the Sisters are acting in full accordance with the philosophy upon which their order was founded. Josip Stadler was esteemed as the “Father of the Poor” by people of all religions and denominations. The Servants of the Infant Jesus also do not divide up the children by religious affiliation. “We are here for the children that need us,” Sister Admirata says.

 

Epilogue

Two days after speaking with them, the children and the Sisters are all in attendance at the ordination celebration to the priesthood of eight young men at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo. None can hide their joy, for they already knew some of these young men as seminarians.

 

June 2016: children are learning by playing and being love. This can happen because the Sisters receive a formation based on the Gospel. Thanks to you.

June 2016: children are learning through play and through the gift of love. This can only happen because the Sisters receive a formation based on the Gospel. And thanks to you!

 

Aid to the Church in Need supports the Sisters of the Servants of the Infant Jesus in the training of their novices. Last year, help was also given for the renovations of two convents that had suffered severe damage during  flooding in Bosnia.

 

By Rolf Bauerdick, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)
Adaptation by Amanda Bridget Griffin 

 


 

Project of the Week – Support for Seminarians

25.02.2016 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Belarus, CONSTRUCTION, FORMATION, Journey with ACN

 2015 Ordination Mass in Grodno, Belarus

Belarus

Help for the training of 33 seminarians in Grodno

Last year the Catholic seminary in Grodno celebrated its 25-year Jubilee. 

 

When the seminary opened on 1st September 1990, the Soviet Union was still in existence. Grodno’s was the first Catholic seminary to be reopened within its territory. In August 1991, Belarus became an independent country, and in April of the same year the diocese of Grodno was established.

 

300 Novenas für 15 Professoren des Priesterseminars in grodno für das Jahr 2015The Grodno seminary was in fact established in a former convent that had been confiscated by the communists. Some sections of the forensic medical services had been housed in the building. It took 10 years before it could be completely renovated – the early beginnings were extremely difficult. Initially, in fact, the seminarians did not even have a refectory. But despite the unfavourable circumstances, the seminary was still able to open its doors as early as 1990. The first eight priests to emerge from this seminary were ordained in 1995.

 

ACN has continued to provide regular support for the training of the seminarians here. During this academic year there are 33 young men preparing for the priesthood.

 

Aid to the Church in Need, thanks to its benefactors like you, is supporting the seminarians formation as future priests with $28,710 CAN.