ACN Success Story – A transportation project in Sierra Leone


Success Story in Sierra Leone


A motorcycle to mobilize a priest!


In recent years, the West African country of Sierra Leone, has seen very few peace times.  A brutal civil war from 1991 to 2002 lay claim to thousands of human lives and left behind widespread devastation, the traces can still be seen to this day. The economy and the infrastructure are ruined. Over 70 percent of the country‘s 7 million people are living in poverty today.


The situation worsened with the onset of the terrible Ebola epidemic in 2014, followed by a series of natural disaster necessitating that the Church focus on the concrete day-to-day needs of the population over many years. Now, the focus is shifting again back to the psychological and spiritual rebuilding of a nation.



More frequent visits to the faithful


Father Paul Karim is one of the priests at the service of the Gospel. Since his ordination in February 2019 he has been working in the parish of Saint Charles Lwanga in the city of Bo, in the south of Sierra Leone. With a population of over 200,000 it is the second largest city in the country after the capital, Freetown.


The parish also includes a number of villages and smaller settlements in the surrounding area, some of them up to 24 km from the parish centre. Father Paul celebrates Holy Mass in these villages, visiting the sick and elderly and bringing them the sacraments, ministering to the schools and also taking part in parish gatherings.


Until recently there was only one vehicle in the entire parish! Meaning, the young Father Paul often had a hard time reaching some of the communities where he was needed. But, thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we were able to give him $1,350 to buy a motorcycle. Now his work is much easier and the people of the parish are happy that he can get to see them more quickly and more frequently.


Our heartfelt thanks to all who helped!

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ACN Project of the Week – India

07.11.2019 in ACN Canada, ACN Intl, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, MOTORIZATION


Success Story: A car to reach marginalized tribal peoples

For many years now, Sister Christine of the Merciful Sisters of the Cross has been serving the poor and oppressed in the East Indian province where her congregation is also located.  Members of the indigenous tribal peoples are the main group of people she tends to. She has a great deal of experience behind her and now coordinates the pastoral work in the various small Christian communities that have formed here, many of them places a priest very rarely is able to visit. The faithful generally gather with a catechist to pray together, celebrate liturgies of the Word and to share their life experiences.



Sister Christine must cover considerable distances to fulfill her pastoral work. She frequently faces travelling on poor roads leading into nearly inaccessible regions. Her old car served her well for eight long years. But, unfortunately, owing to the harsh conditions, it became increasingly unreliable, repeatedly leaving her stranded mid-route and becoming ever more expensive in repair costs.


Thanks to the help of our generous benefactors, we were able to provide $15,000 for the purchase of a new vehicle. Sister Christine is delighted with her new vehicle. She writes, “May God richly bless you all. I promise you my prayers and the prayers of all the people in our parishes!”


ACN’s Project of the week – Guatemala – a car for a very large parish

05.04.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Central America, Guatemala, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, MOTORIZATION


A car for pastoral work in a very large parish

The parish of El Calvario in  Cobàn is under the care of three priests belonging to the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Although the parish church is close to the city centre, the parish itself covers a vast and mountainous area of 2,000 square kilometres, with 117 outlying communities to care for, and there is only three priests! In comparaison, the Megacity and capital of Japan, Tokyo, is a little bigger.


The challenges are enormous , and the distances considerable, and often on poor roads. The northern part of the region is unsafe on account of the drug traffickers, organized crime, and three quarters of the population live in poverty, often extreme poverty. Most of the population belong to the indigenous Kekchi (or Q’eqchi) tribe. The first roads into the region were only built in the 1960s and 1970s, and to this day the Kekchi still live on the margins of society.

In the mountain of Guatemala, in a territory a little bit less larger than Japan’s capital and megacity Tokyo, the three religious of the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary wants to improve the time they passed with their parishioners. A new car will be of great help! 



During the civil war that lasted from 1968 until 1996 many people were abducted and tortured or lost close family members, and many children were orphaned. “The wounds from this time have still not healed,” says Father Charitable Derisseau, who in fact comes from Haiti himself. “The widows, orphans and other survivors of this conflict are still living here in our parish”, he adds. Father Derisseau has left his own country, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, to devote his life to the poor in Guatemala.


The Catholic Church here is devoting itself particularly to the Kekchi people. “They are the majority in our parish, and they are particularly poor and marginalized”, their parish priest tells us. Many of their villages can only be reached on foot, which means that the priests sometimes have to wade through the mud to get to their destination. “Generally, we aim to visit 10 communities in five days. Sometimes we have to walk for hours to get from one village to another. But although walking through the mud is extremely hard work and makes us sweat and struggle, we are welcomed with such warmth and celebration”, he tells us. The Catholic faithful are overjoyed when the priest comes, bringing them the Sacraments and helping them with wise spiritual and practical counsel. Many of the villages can, however, be reached along very poor, muddy and deeply potholed tracks – but these can only be managed in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.


At present the priests do have an old car, which is causing them more and more problems, however, and so they have asked our help for a new vehicle that can cope with the difficult conditions. We have promised them 22 650 dollars.

Guatemala: Father Charitable Derisseau presiding the Eucharist with his parishioners. 




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ACN Project of the Week – DRC

11.01.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Africa, Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Dominican Fathers, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, MOTORIZATION, Project of the Week, TRANSPORTATION

Success Story: Democratic Republic of the Congo


A minibus for the Dominican Fathers in Kinshasa


The Dominican Fathers in Kinshasa are delighted to have received their new minibus. Their old vehicle finally gave up the ghost, irrevocably, while travelling on the road, some 210 km (130 miles) away from their home monastery. From that time onward, they were forced to cope somehow or other without a vehicle. But thanks to the generosity of our benefactors who have given $33,000, they have at last been able to purchase a new minibus.


The Dominican Order, which celebrated its 800 years of existence in 2016, has been in existence since 1912 in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Long ago, at that time, it was Belgian priests who arrived as missionaries, but now it is the home-grown Congolese religious who are following in their footsteps. The order is represented in four dioceses of the country and has six houses, with a total of 42 priests. The Dominican Fathers are involved in chaplaincy work with the military and the police, and they also care for former child soldiers, for orphans, the crippled and disabled and for victims of sexual violence. They are also involved in the running of five local parishes.


A minibus translates into more study time

Blessing of the minibus offered by the benfactors of Aid to the Church in Need, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are many new vocations. Currently there are 17 students, six novices and eight pre-novices who are preparing to commit themselves one day fully to the order through their solemn vows. Two young men have already been ordained to the diaconate in fact, and are now looking forward to their ordination as priests.

The new minibus is very important to the Dominicans for the effective realization of their many different activities. However, its most important use is for the young men who are pursuing their studies. For one of the two universities where these students are training is around 10 miles (15 km) away from the Dominican monastery, and public transport in the 13 million-strong (new statistics show 17 million!) city of Kinshasa is inadequate and unreliable.

As a result, the students found it almost impossible to arrive punctually and reliably for their studies, and on top of this they were in a constant state of near exhaustion, having been forced to waste a great deal of time that they should have been able to devote to their studies and to their monastic life.

Father Albert Akora Kanika writes, “Thanks to the new vehicle, our students are exposed to fewer dangers on the roads; they are healthier and happier and can pursue their studies better and more regularly – and above all take part in the life of the monastery while looking to achieve better grades in their studies.”

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ACN Project of the Week – Brazil

22.12.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Journey with ACN, MOTORIZATION


Success Story: Two river boats for pastoral work in the Amazon region

The Catholic territorial prelature of Tefé lies in the state of Amazonas in Northwest Brazil. The prelature alone covers an area of over 100,000 square miles (265,000 km²) – roughly the size of Italy – and vast sections of it are accessible only by river. The distances are immense.

Needless to say, the sheer scale of the prelature represents a major challenge for the Catholic Church, since the 14 parishes and the 520 sub-parishes lie scattered across this whole vast area, along the river banks. Until recently it took the priests and lay missionaries somewhere between two and three days just to travel from one riverside community to another. This was partly because the boats they were using were at least 20 years old and made of wood. They were becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and consumed an excessive amount of fuel. Moreover, on account of the tightening of environmental laws, it was becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain the necessary timber to repair the boats when they were damaged. And of course the long and arduous journeys, sometimes of several hundred kilometers, took a heavy toll on those involved. The journey to the most distant parish took up to 120 hours, or five days.

The Catholic faithful in the villages also had to wait for very long periods from one visit to the next. And meanwhile, the less they were able to play an active part in the life of the Church and be given the necessary pastoral accompaniment, the more they became easy prey for the often well funded sectarian groups seeking to expand into the area and proselytize.

Now, however, thanks to the generosity of our kind benefactors, ACN has been able to help the prelature to purchase two new, aluminium hulled boats. These have cut down the journey time by half from one community to the next, so that the missionaries can now visit the communities more frequently. And at the same time they have greatly reduced the fuel costs. Each boat is 12 m long by 3 m wide, a veritable “floating mission station” with a kitchen or galley area and a bathroom. It has sleeping accommodation for up to 10 people and seating for up to 35 people, so that Holy Mass and other ceremonies can be held on board. Both boats bear the logo of the prelature, plus an individual religious name, so that they can be easily recognized as mission boats.

In fact, one of them is even named after Father Werenfried van Straaten, the founder of ACN. And of course the Catholics of the region are delighted that the Church can now come to them more frequently. They all express their heartfelt thanks to all our generous benefactors! And with your help, we are planning to fund two more similar mission boats in the near future!

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ACN Project of the Week – Ethiopia

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



Bicycles for 30 catechists in Gambella


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


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


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

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


Announcing the Good News in more villages!

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


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




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


*  United Nations High Commission for Refugees 

Project of the Week – Bicycles for Indian catechists!

10.05.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, India, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, MOTORIZATION, Religious education

India Success Story

275 bicycles for cathechists!

In the diocese of Eluru, with its 1,150-plus Catholic villages, the lay catechists play a crucial role, as it is simply impossible for the priests to be everywhere at once.

It falls to the catechists, much of the time, to prepare people for the sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion, Confirmation and Matrimony. They also lead prayer services and liturgies of the Word, visit the faithful in their homes and pray with the families. However, there has been a notable increase in the influence of films and television on these families and with it a growth in their problems; the solid preparation for marriage and the counselling and accompaniment of families have become increasingly important. Once again, the catechists perform a precious service here.


The diocese is very poor, however, lying as it does in a region of the south-eastern coastal state of Andhra Pradesh, frequently at the mercy of natural disasters. Most people in this area are ordinary manual workers, dependent on the large landowners for their livelihood. Therefore, the amount they can give to the Church is also very little.

The catechists themselves receive only a minimal remuneration. But the diocese wanted at least to be able to equip 275 of these catechists with bicycles, so that they could more easily reach the villages where they serve. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we were able to contribute 19 938 dollars for this purpose.

By now the catechists have all received their bicycles, and Father Tatapudi Emmanuel, the diocesan bursar, has written to thank us. He writes: “I thank you with all my heart for your generous help for the diocese of Eluru. The catechists are very happy to have these bicycles for their pastoral service. Recently we held a two-day meeting for all the catechists, and at the end of the meeting all the catechists expressed their great joy at having these bicycles. Their pastoral work will certainly be improved as a result. Together with my fellow priests, I thank you for all the help you are giving to enable us to proclaim the Gospel message to the people, and I assure you of my prayers. May Mary, Joseph and the Child Jesus richly bless you!”

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ACN Project of the Week – Success Story in Brazil

26.04.2017 in Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Brazil, Journey with ACN, MOTORIZATION, South America

Success Story in Brazil

A boat for pastoral work in the Amazon region


In the north of Brazil, a Catholic community with the name “Mar a Dentro” (Out Into The Deep) runs a pastoral centre in the city of Belem. Prayer meetings and Eucharistic adoration are held here and young people are prepared for confirmation while young couples for the sacrament of matrimony.


The community  also cares for around 60 children and provides psychological support and counselling confining themselves not only to the city, but for the last nine years have been ministering to the people living in the jungle on the riverside and the river islands in the Amazon region of northern Brazil. Villages that are only reachable by boat. Faithful to the words of Jesus to Peter: “Duc in Altum”,  (Put out into the deep) (Lk 5:4) – as the name of their community suggests.

Thanks to the boat, these young boys will continue to receive catechism.

By means of their apostolate the community is able to guarantee a continuing presence of the Catholic Church in this inaccessible region. The people living in these villages are in need in every respect – in need of pastoral care, of spiritual and material support, of counselling and assistance in many different needs. In order to try and meet some of these needs, the community is helping around 400 families to grow in their faith, to get to know the Gospel message in greater depth and play an active part in the life of the Church. At the same time providing support for the people’s social and other needs and along with the vital basic necessities of life. There are roughly a hundred volunteers, working in rotations in this apostolate on the margins of society. Many from Mar a Dentro are able to bring their daily professional experience to bear for the benefit of the needy in these communities.

Until now the community has only had an old wooden boat available to take them on the river, but it is  in a very poor state of repair. The community urgently needs a new boat made of more durable materials able to withstand the difficult conditions and enable them to carry out this work of service quicker and in more safety – and also visit the riverside settlements more frequently.

To bring the Gospel even in the villages of the Amazonian Rivers. A mission we want to help in.

We are planning
to give $49,010,
for the purchase
of a new aluminium hulled boat.
Thank you to help us
to help them!


ACN Project of the Week – A vehicle to help a priest in Malawi

22.03.2017 in Africa, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Malawi, MOTORIZATION, Pastoral work


 A vital vehicle to reach remote parishioners in the mountains

Here is a success story signed by Aid to the Church in Need!  


The parish of Saint Paul is one of the largest parishes in the diocese of Blantyre and lies in a mountainous area, close to the frontier between Malawi and Mozambique.

Project of the Week – in Tanzania

11.01.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, MOTORIZATION, TANZANIA

Project of the Week in Tanzania

A sturdy vehicle for the parish of Namswea

The parish of Namswea lies in the far south of Tanzania, in the diocese of Mbinga. It is a large parish with over 11,300 faithful and 13 outstations lying anything up to 30 miles (50 km) from the parish centre. For many years the priests working in the parish were unable to visit the outlying communities because they had no vehicle to get them there. That meant that the people in these outstations had only the local lay catechists to minister to them pastorally and had little or no opportunity to get to Holy Mass or receive the Sacraments. Of course, they also had many material and medical needs which could not be met for lack of a suitable vehicle.

Many lives might have been saved if only transport to take them to a local hospital or clinic had been available.


Namswea Catholic Parish: Children receiving the Holy First Communion

But now, thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we have been able to provide 27,550 CAD for a sturdy off-road vehicle that can cope with the difficult driving conditions they face.

Father Odin Kapinga, the parish priest, is speechless with joy and gratitude. “There is nothing I can say except that I will pray for you all,” he writes.




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