Nigeria

 

ACN News: Nigerian Archbishop to visit Canada

29.05.2018 in ACN Canada, ACN PRESS, Africa, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Mario Bard, Faith, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Interreligious Dialogue, Nigeria, Nigeria, Translated by Amanda Griffin

ACN CANADA

A visit from Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama to Canada
A word of hope amidst violence and persecution

Montreal, Tuesday May 29, 2018 – Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN) will welcome Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama this coming June 8 through to June 14 to Canada.   The archbishop of Jos in Nigeria, capital of the Plateau State and city situated at the very heart of the area regularly suffering the effects of violence that is being described now, less as a struggle over territory and more as the desire to Islamicize regions that are mainly Christian.

What we are observing in certain regions of Nigeria is alarming,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of ACN Canada, situated in Montreal.

“I am anxious to hear Msgr. Kaigama, a long time partner of ours, speak to us about the complex and difficult situation lived by the people in this region, the Christians in particular.”  This region – called the ‘Middle Belt’ because it is situated directly in the middle of the country – divides Nigeria in half: the southern half holding a Christian majority, and to the north, a Muslim majority.

“Some recent reports lead us to believe that there may be an attempt at Islamization of the majority Christian regions situated in this belt.  The coups, the massacres, the displacements and the theft of land leave thousands of people, many of who are Christians, without any resources.”

The city of Jos where Msgr. Kaigama has had a seat since 2000 was the theater of similar affronts in 2004.  Since, this man who currently presides over the country’s Catholic Bishops Conference has become an ardent defender of dialogue between Christians and Muslims.  If religious fundamentalism is one of the main reasons for violence, the Archbishop has no trouble speaking out regularly against a lack of means to fight efficiently against a mounting extremism. There is no educational system worthy of claiming an effective defense of minorities. Moreover, the welfare situation is endemic at over 14%.

Msgr. Kaigama in the Sanctuary of “Lourdes Grotto” Santiago, Chile 2016. Praying for peace in Nigeria

A first visit to Canada

Msgr. Kaigama has expressed that he is “very happy about this first visit to Canada.” And despite some very serious problems in his country, the archbishop also has a great desire to convey “a note of hope” to all the people who will be coming out to hear him speak.  “A Christian must always live in hope, while continuing all the while to live and struggle so that the world becomes a just and human place.”

This recipient of the Golden Dove in 2012 for his work in promoting peace and interreligious harmony will be visiting Vancouver on June 8 where he will have a public engagement at 7:30 at Karol Wojtyla Hall.  June 9, he will be in Toronto where he will preside at Mass held at 5:00pm at Saint Michael’s Cathedral.

The following day, June 12, he will be visiting Saint Clare’s parish at 11:00am, will preside over the Mass, and will be available to meet with people directly afterwards.  On June 11 and 12, he will be in the country’s capital and will celebrate Mass at Ottawa’s Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Once again, the following day, the public is invited to meet him at the Diocesan Centre in Gatineau.

Finally, on June 13 and 14, he will end his visit in Montreal where he will celebrate Mass at at Saint Patrick’s Basilica on June 13 at 5:15pm. The following day, he is inviting the public to come and meet him at the Atwater Library for a conference beginning at 7:30pm.

For more information and for the addresses of the meeting places and parishes, please visit ACN’s website acn-canada.org/kaigama/

Or call:  1-800-585-6333.

*Given by the Italian organization named Istituto di richerche internazionali Archivio disarm.


 

ACN News: Bishop of Makurdi speaks about the massacres of Christians in Nigeria

25.05.2018 in ACN Canada, ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Maria Lozano, Nigeria, Nigeria, Persecution of Christians

Nigeria

 

“There is a plan to Islamize the Christian areas.”

The Bishop of Makurdi speaks about the massacres of Christians in Nigeria: “There is a plan to Islamize the Christian areas.”

There is a clear agenda, a plan to Islamize all the areas that are currently predominantly Christian in the so-called Middle Belt of Nigeria.” This was the statement made by Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of the diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria, who was speaking to the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). It is in his diocese that the parish of Saint Ignatius is situated, in Ukpor-Mbalom in Benue State which was the scene of the most recent attack last April 24.

“Two of my priests were murdered, Father Joseph Gor and Father Felix Tyolaha, together with at least 17 of the faithful. They were celebrating Holy Mass at 6 in the morning.” Among the victims were a lay catechist and the president of the parish council, “both of them mothers of families,” and also the head teacher of the only secondary school in the town. During the interview, Bishop Anagbe noted the total number of victims has not yet been ascertained since tragically, some family members of the Catholic faithful had disappeared.

This was no isolated incident. Since early this year, over 100 people have been killed in similar attacks. “Eleven parishes in the diocese have been attacked,” the bishop told ACN, “and there have been numerous other attacks throughout Benue State, where 99% of the population are Christians.” In January, the local government organized a mass burial for 72 victims for their families.

 

Islamizing the entire region: So who is funding them?

These attacks were carried out by nomadic cattle herders of the Fulani tribe with extremist views. “We are not speaking of Boko Haram this time, although some of the cattle herders have connections with that terrorist group in the past and both groups are united in the same intention to Islamize the entire region.” the bishop added.

In the face of so much violence one of the most worrying aspects for the bishop is a complete lack of action on the part of the government, especially the federal government. “When the attacks take place, there are never any police or soldiers present. Quite apart from the fact that the Fulani tribesman for the most part live in the forest and cannot afford the luxury of such sophisticated weapons. So who is funding them?”

Nigeria, March 2017
Impressions out of the car on the way from Kaduna to Jos

The violence has resulted in a large number of internal refugees, over 100,000 of them, now living in four separate refugee camps in the diocese of Makurdi. “The Church is helping the people, whereas the government is  not helping us at all in this case,” the bishop explained.

The area where the most recent attack took place is now completely abandoned and deserted. The parish of Mbalom was established only in 2015. “There was nothing at the time, no schools and no hospitals. We built these, above all thanks to the dedication of Father Joseph and Father Felix. They were priests who were truly active and devoted to their community,” the bishop observed.

In the face of so much pain and suffering, the Nigerian Christians are not losing hope – but they do need the support of the international community. The Catholic Church in Nigeria has organized a march for 22 May to protest against the continuing massacres of Christians by the Fulani cattle herders. “Please pray for us and make yourself spokesmen for the suffering our community is going through. We need people to raise their voices in our defense. Nigeria is part of the United Nations, and we cannot simply be abandoned and forgotten by the world.”

 

 


 

 

ACN Update: Nigeria’s Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama to do a cross-Canada tour

25.05.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Nigeria


Canada

A word of hope amidst violence and persecution

Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama is the archbishop of Jos in Nigeria and the president of the Episcopal Conference of the country.

He will be visiting Canada from June 7 to June 14 to speak about the circumstances in his country of Nigeria, the most populous in Africa.

The difficulties are many: poverty, corruption, lack of healthcare and problems with the education system. In addition, factors contributing to the difficulties like the presence of Islamic extremist terrorist groups in the north, such as the so-called Boko Haram as well as the situation of Christians living under the Sharia Law in at least nine of the northern states.

Archbishop Kaigama will address these issues.
However, he strongly believes that dialogue is the key to a peaceful country.

Dates and times:

Vancouver:
Friday June 8: Karol Wojtyla Hall, 4885 Saint John Paul II Way, 7:30 pm

TorontoSaturday June 9: Mass at the Cathedral St. Michael, 65 Bond Street, at 5pm, will be followed by a talk given by the Bishop Kaigama
Sunday June 10: after the noon Mass, at St Clare Parish, 1118, St.Clair Ave West

Ottawa-Gatineau
Tuesday, June 12: Diocesan Centre, 180 Mont-Bleu Blvd, 7:30 pm

Montreal
Thursday, June 14: Atwater Library
1200 Atwater Avenue – Atwater Metro, 7:30 pm

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-585-6333.

 


 

ACN News: Nigeria Bishops call on the president to “consider stepping-aside”

11.05.2018 in ACN NEWS, Adapted by Julie Bourbeau and Amanda Griffin, Africa, Nigeria

Nigeria

Bishops call on the president to “consider stepping-aside”

Last April 24, Nigeria’s bishops  issued a formal statement calling on the President to “consider stepping aside,” and accusing the government of security failures which they blame for the murder of 17 Christians, including two priests.

Father Joseph Gor, Father Felix Tyolaha and 15 parishioners were killed during a funeral Mass in Mbalom, Benue State, by gunmen, with reports that about 30 Fulani militants waited for the faithful to gather at the church before attacking. They also burned down about 50 homes in the area.

Condemning the “rampaging and murderous terrorists”, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a formal statement, asking: “…how can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless and armless citizens, who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in their sacred places of worship?”

Writing in bold typeface, the bishops stressed: “…it is time for [Nigeria’s President Mudammadu Buhari] to choose the part of honour and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.”

Accusing the President of ignoring repeated calls to step up security, the bishops assert: “He should no longer continue to preside over the killing fields and mass graveyard that our country has become.”

Written in the wake of the funeral Mass killings, which took place last Tuesday (24th April), the bishops assert that they have lost confidence in the country’s security apparatus.

In their statement, the bishops declare: “Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told to defend themselves. But defend themselves with what?”

The statement notes that the “government should encourage and empower citizens to secure themselves and their environments. This is not the time to disarm people with legally procured weapons of self-defense.”

The CBCN statement reports that back in January, Father Gor, one of the priests killed last Tuesday, had warned about the continuing threat posed by Fulani herdsmen, of whom he said: “‘They still go grazing around. No weapons to defend ourselves.’”

Highlighting security concerns across Nigeria’s Middle-Belt, Father Alexander Yeyock, parish priest of St John’s Catholic Church, Asso village in nearby Kaduna State, told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “The concern now is that the entire nation should not depend so much on national security protection.

“Every individual, group and community should struggle to defend themselves.  This is grossly unfortunate.”

 

Nigeria, diocese of Maiduguri in October 2017
The diocese of Maiduguri has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, in which context Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme has reconsecrated it to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: People are at the foot of the cross.

Fulani militias forming abroad

Father Yeyock’s parish was attacked a month ago when two Catholic men were shot dead, an atrocity which took place almost exactly a year after Fulani militants murdered 12 Christians during the Easter Vigil service at his church.

Referring to tension in his parish and across the region, Father Yeyock said: “In Asso, farmers go to farms in fear and in groups… Bereaved families have come to terms with the reality that attacks by Fulani herdsmen [occur] frequently in Asso, but no place is spared.”

Father Yeyock added: “It’s again unfortunate that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are known by the government of Nigeria, those who sponsor them too, and yet no action is taken.”

Highlighting that Fulani militants receive military training abroad before going on to target Christians, he said: “With the news of the current attacks, Nigerians have argued with the earlier narrative from the federal government, which has very often told the world that it was always a clash between the herdsmen and farmers.

“It’s now evidently revealing that there is more to it than meets the eye… it is purely a religious jihad in disguise.

According to reports, the Acting Governor of Benue State, Benson Abounu, said last Tuesday’s attack showed that the security breakdown had “gone beyond [a] farmers-herders crisis.”

 


 

ACN News – Nigeria: In spite of attacks and radicalization – the faith is growing

16.02.2018 in ACN International, Africa, Boko Haram, by Tobias Lehner, Faith, Fulani, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Julie Bourbeau, Karla Sponar, Nigeria, Nigeria

Nigeria: In spite of attacks and radicalization – the faith is growing

The Archbishop of Kaduna, on the situation of Christianity in his homeland

 

Even though the government has initiated efforts to regain control over the areas occupied by Boko Haram, attacks on Christians and their communities take place regularly, particularly in the northeastern parts of the country. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso most recently visited his former diocese in Maiduguri on November 2nd of last year. Two days later, another attack was carried out. The present archbishop of Kaduna escaped with his life, “but once again, there were many fatalities – attacks such as these make our day-to-day lives very uncertain,” Ndagoso said.

 

According to international statistics, there are currently almost 1.8 million displaced persons in Nigeria; this number grew by at least 140,000 people last year alone because of ongoing attacks. The focus of the attacks is primarily markets and churches; however, Ndagoso said that mosques have also been targeted lately. “Terrorist groups pretend that they would like to pray. They mingle among those gathered in places where one would normally not suspect bomb attacks.” This spreads confusion. A

ccording to the archbishop, some of the greatest problems today are abductions and demands for ransom payments.

 

More groups have radicalized in the meantime, including members of the Fulani, a nomadic, pastoral people. It is conspicuous that they are outfitted with modern weapons – a circumstance that indicates that “powerful forces with connections to terrorist organizations such as IS and al-Qaeda are behind groups such as these,” Ndagoso explained. However, no matter how hard Christians are hit by the attacks, “they just grow stronger in their faith.” Not only has the number of students enrolled at the seminaries in Nigeria grown, but also the number of Christians overall. “Over the past four years, I have opened at least three new parishes per year,” reported the archbishop of Kaduna. And that although his diocese in northern Nigeria is located in what is anything but an easy environment for Christians. They are a minority living among a Muslim majority, in areas governed in part by Islamic Sharia law. Attacks on churches are a regular occurrence. Building projects for new churches are not approved. The house in Maiduguri in which Ndagoso once lived as bishop was destroyed by Boko Haram. The terrorist group was formed in a mosque in the neighbourhood of the bishop’s house.

 

The activities of Boko Haram are like “a wake-up call” for the Christians in his diocese, Ndagoso said. He gave the example of a church in the city of Kaduna that became the target of an attack in 2012 that killed several and wounded over a hundred. Three services a week were held there before the attack, now Holy Mass is celebrated almost every day. The number of faithful has tripled since the attack. Funding from

Archbishop Matthew Ndangoso of Kaduna

Aid to the Church in Need has made it possible to rebuild the once destroyed pastoral centre nearby.

 

 

With regard to the role of Christians in his country, Ndagoso emphasized, “We have to be as patient as God has been with all people for millennia – time and again we must take the initiative ourselves, we must take a stand for truth – because our God is a God of peace and not of violence.”

 

Government agencies have now allocated relief goods to the church for further distribution among displaced persons because of the transparency of the aid work carried out by Christians in the northeastern part of Nigeria.

 

In over ten years, Aid to the Church in Need has granted more than 14.4 million Dollars in aid to Nigeria, about 2.7 million Dollars of this in the past year alone. In addition to rebuilding church buildings destroyed by violence, the international Catholic pastoral charity, Aid to the Church in Need, has set up a special program in Maiduguri to help the widows and orphans of the victims of Boko Haram.

 

Nigeria: Destruction of churches and houses at Gogogodo in Jemaa local Goverment Area in Kafanchan Diocese (Kaduna State) by the Fulani Herdsmen terrorists. These are just a tip of iceberg.


 

“If it weren‘t for the Church, we‘d be dead by now.”

02.02.2018 in ACN International, Africa, Bishops, by Tobias Lehner, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Julie Bourbeau, Julie Bourdeau, Nigeria, Syria

A Syrian and a Nigerian archbishop talk about the situation of Christians in their countries

If it weren‘t for the Church, we‘d be dead by now.

 

At a press conference held in Cologne, Germany last weekend by the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), two archbishops from Nigeria and Syria spoke about the difficult and dramatic situation facing Christians in their respective countries. Archbishop Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso of the diocese of Kaduna, in northern Nigeria and Maronite Archbishop Joseph Tobji of Aleppo, in Syria, warned about the continuing perils and threats of violence, the many uprooted people and refugees, and even the danger of the extinction of Christianity in their respective regions.

 

In the case of Syria, even though the so-called “Islamic State” appears almost finished, there are many other like-minded groups still active, Archbishop Tobji warned. While emphasizing that in Syria, and in Aleppo, life was indeed slowly beginning to return to normal and people were beginning to recover new hope, the consequences of the war were still being very strongly felt, he said.

 

“It is the entire Syrian people who have lost,” the Archbishop observed. “Everywhere, there is poverty, unemployment, unimaginable devastation of people’s homes and of the social and moral fabric of society, together with a sense of hopelessness and mistrust with regard to the future.” In this situation, the support of the Church is particularly important, he insisted, adding his particular thanks for the commitment and generosity of ACN. “Many people in Syria openly acknowledge that if it weren’t for the Church, we’d be dead by now,” he confessed.

Syria :  Sr. Marie-Claire Zacar and Sr. Pascale, in Alep. ACN helped them to renovate the nursery. (Sisters of Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours).

Archbishop Tobji also criticized the role of the international community. “It is absolutely clear to everyone,” he insisted, “that the reasons for such a disastrous war as we have endured for seven years now have nothing to do with the demand for democracy or freedom. They have much more to do with a dirty game of world economics.” He maintained that the principal factors were, above all, the arms trade, natural resources such as oil and gas, the importance of the geographical and economic position of the country and opposing world political attitudes. For the world powers, Syria was like a cake to be divided up, with each party wanting the biggest slice, he said.

 

The dire consequences of emigration

 

It is above all the younger and better-educated people who have left Syria on account of the war and the lack of future prospects, the Archbishop pointed out, adding that the consequences of this emigration are very dire. The number of Christians in Syria had now fallen to one third, he said, and while the internal refugees were now slowly returning

home, those who have moved abroad were staying put.

 

Similarly, in northern Nigeria, thousands of people have now fled the violence, intimidation and oppression. The Christians here are exposed not only to the attacks by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, but also to a systematic discrimination by the regional state, according to Archbishop Matthew Mano-Oso Ndagoso of Kaduna.

 

Nigeria is the only country in the world in which the population is more or less evenly divided between Christians and Muslims, with Christians the majority in the south and Muslims the majority in the north, Archbishop Matthew explained, adding that his own diocesan city of Kaduna is a particularly important centre of Islam in Nigeria.

Nigeria, March 2017
Stations of the cross at St. Murumba Parish

 

Nigeria – where Christian religious education is banned in some places

 

In some of the federal states of northern Nigeria, moreover, Islamic sharia law has now been introduced, and in some of the northern Nigerian provinces, Christian religious education is no longer allowed in the schools, whereas Islamic religious education is supported and Islamic teachers of religion officially employed by the state are paid out of public funds. Even mosques are being funded with public monies, whereas Christians are being refused plots of land on which to build churches, the Archbishop complained.

 

Archbishop Ndagoso is therefore calling for the Christian minority in the north to be given “fair treatment, based on justice and an honest approach towards one another, regardless of religious confession, tribal identity, political affiliation and social status. The Christians of Nigeria are calling for their fundamental human rights and freedoms to be honoured and respected throughout the country,” he added.

 

Archbishop Ndagoso also praised the support and solidarity offered by the international Catholic pastoral charity ACN, which “has always been there for our people in times of need.” Owing to the insecurity of the situation, even some of the bishops had not dared to venture into the north of Nigeria, he said. ACN was a “voice,” he added, that was giving audible expression on the international stage to the fears, anxieties and needs of the persecuted Christian minority in Nigeria.

 

This is why it is urgently necessary to show our solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world, said Berthold Pelster, ACN’s human rights expert, summarizing the situation at the press conference which was organized by the German branch of ACN. “In the past 30 or 40 years or so, we have seen the advance of intolerant religious ideologies, above all in parts of the Islamic world,” he said. “Following the upheavals in the Arab world since 2011, we have seen the growth of extreme forms, and meanwhile radical Islamist ideas have also been spreading increasingly on the African continent,” he added.

 

It is therefore crucial, he believes, to draw the attention of world public opinion again and again to the abuses against the basic right to religious freedom. For the persecuted and oppressed Christians, it is a source of a special strength in their faith to know they have not been abandoned in their need by the universal Church.

 

For many years now, ACN has been documenting the persecution of Christians worldwide and monitoring the situation of religious freedom in 196 countries around the world. The charity and pontifical foundation publishes its findings in a global report every other year, the only NGO to regularly do so (religious-freedom-report.org). The next global report on religious freedom will be published in the autumn of this year. In 2017, a Report dedicated to the situation of the persecuted Christians was released. Persecuted and Forgotten highlights the challenges endure by Christians in 13 countries.


 

ACN Press Release – Visit to Canada Postponed

20.10.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, AED Canada, Nigeria, Persecution of Christians, Press Release, Priests

Archbishop Msgr Ignatius Kaigama, of Jos in Nigeria

Visit to Canada Postponed

 

Nigeria, March 2017
Most Rev. Ignatius A. Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos

Montreal, Friday, October 20, 2017—Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is announcing that the visit of Msgr Ignatius Kaigama, archbishop of Jos in Nigeria has been postponed due to delays in the visa acquisition process. The visit, initially scheduled for October 31 through to November 3 with a series of conferences in between, will be rescheduled to the week of June 5 through to June 8, 2018.

“We are maintaining contact with Msgr Kaigama who regrets this situation and who is also very excited to be able to come and speak about his work of dialogue and about the situation of Christians in Nigeria,” explains Marie-Claude Lalonde, the National Director of ACN Canada. Our partners who have supported the organization in various dioceses where conferences were planned, have been informed and have expressed their support and readiness to welcome Msgr. Kaimaga this coming June.

 

November 3rd Mass: Remains on the Schedule

Otherwise, the Mass which will be celebrated for persecuted Christians and presided over by Msgr Christian Lépine, the Archbishop of Montreal, and to which Msgr Kaigama was due to participate, will go ahead on Friday, November 3, at 7:30 pm, at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal. The popular author/singer/songwriter Robert Lebel will be at the celebration to provide the music for the liturgy and will be accompanied by l’Espace Benoit-Lacroix. Mrs Chantal Roussety, a musician and friend of ACN, will be at the organ with musical meditations before and during the liturgy.

For more information about this event, plus call 514-932-0552, or contact ACN via email at [email protected]

 

 


 

ACN Press – Aid to the Church in Need Canada : A busy fall program!

08.09.2017 in ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Mario Bard, Nigeria, Persecution of Christians, Religious freedom

Aid to the Church in Need Canada

A busy fall program!

“This is by far one of the busiest and fall seasons in our history!” declares Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN) with regard to the upcoming fall program for the organization which will be marked by four major events.

They are:  the arrival of Msgr. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of the diocese of Jos in Nigeria and the president of his Episcopal Conference; a campaign to support reconstruction for Christians on Iraq’s Nineveh Plains; a Mass for persecuted

Christians in the Archdiocese of Montreal; the launch of the biennial 2015-2017 Persecuted and Forgotten? Report on persecution of Christians around the world.

 

“Keeping people informed is part of our mission,” Mrs. Lalonde emphasizes. “To remain faithful to it, nothing could be better than a witness who agrees to meet with us.  The archbishop of Jos and president of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, Monsignor Ignatius Kaigama, will be in Canada from October 31 to November 4.  We can confirm that there will be events in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and possibly in Ottawa.  Nigeria is especially touched by the violent terrorism of the Boko Haram extremist group, and Msgr. Kaigama will be able to help us grasp the point to which – and that despite some progress – the situation remains a worrying one for the population.”

 

Monsignor Kaigama will participate in celebrating Mass for persecuted Christians, presided over for a fourth consecutive time by the archbishop of Montreal, Msgr. Christian Lépine and celebrated on Friday, November 3rd at the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral (in Montreal).  “It will be a unique opportunity to gather for these millions of Christians, who, every day, live with discrimination and persecution as a result of their faith,” recalls Mrs. Lalonde.  Robert Lebel, a popular Québec French language singer of religious songs – a priest himself and a good friend of ACN – as well as the choir from the Centre étudiant Benoit-Lacroix, will assure a wonderful quality musical presence for the liturgy.

 

A campaign and liturgy

Among the four elements to watch for, there will be the launch of a report and of a fundraising and information campaign highlighting the situation of Christians of the Nineveh Plains in Iraq.  “Little by little, Christians who fled the Islamic State in summer 2014 are starting to return,” explains Mrs. Lalonde.  “Aid to the Church in Need is supporting this process.  We have begun the construction and repairs of a hundred or so houses in Christian neighbourhoods in this region.  But this is only a beginning. Our campaign aims not only to raise money, but it is also a part of our mission to inform the public about the importance of rebuilding to maintain a Christian presence in Iraq.”  Since the second war in Iraq in 2003, their very presence has been threatened by terrorist groups, such as the ‘so-called’ Islamic State.  “ We have denounced this genocide they are guilty of perpetrating. Now, and despite the continued fighting in some sectors, we wish to ensure that Iraqi Christians, whose presence has been held by this land for two millenniums, get to go home.”  She insists, “This position is not an ideological one. We are talking about their ancestral land.  It is where they were born, and their parents and their grandparents were born! Leaving is the last solution and Aid to the Church in Need will do everything it can to help them return to their lands and live there again,” she explains.  Videos, calls on social media, and a micro-website dedicated to the task will be the tools used to support the information aspect of the fundraising campaign.

Photo: Persecuted and forgotten: Christians under attacks just because of their faith…

Finally, the Persecuted and Forgotten? 2017 Report is due to be published in early October.  Every two years, Aid to the Church in Need takes an inventory and alerts us to the situation of Christians in countries where persecution against them is most pronounced.  The report provides information on the lack of religious freedom lived by an impressive number of Christians.  “A sad reality that this international report highlights more than every today,” she underlines and finally adding, “The people of the Laurentians will also we gathering for a second vigil on November 8 organized in this region by the Groupe L’Étincelle.  This year, Christians in Africa will be honored.

Follow updates from ACN Canada on social networks – Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. Regular updates are also posted to the ACN Canada website: www.acn-aed-ca.org.

 

 


 

Archbishop Lépine calls us to Pray, Give, Speak-Out

12.07.2017 in Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Famine, Mario Bard, Nigeria, Prayer, Press Release, South Sudan

The Pray, Give, Speak-Out Campaign

Archbishop Lépine calls for solidarity

 

“It is now that millions of people suffer from hunger… let us stand in solidarity with them,” answers Msgr. Christian Lépine when asked why give for the famine in Nigeria and in South Sudan in a short video published yesterday on Aid to the Church in Need Canada’s Youtube channel.

 

Marie-Claude Lalonde and Msgr Christian Lépine during the Pray, Give, Speak-Out campaign launch in June.

A reminder from the Archbishop of Montreal and member of the ACN International Council, that the campaign launched by the Canadian Catholic Bishops is still underway and that the situation itself remains a major concern for our project partners.

 

“If the period for matching donations by the Canadian government has ended, Aid to the Church in Need continues to receive donations to relieve hunger due to famine,” indicates Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need.

“We are happy that Msgr. Lépine supports us in this urgent action as a member of our organization’s International Council.  We therefore would like to invite people who have not yet had the chance to give to this campaign to do so as quickly as possible.”  ACN Canada is one of three charitable organizations proposed by the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops as part of the campaign they launched in June called, Pray, Give, Speak-Out, aiming at countering the famine threatening over 20 million people in Yemen and in three other African countries namely Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.  ACN has been able to give support to project partners in the last two countries among those listed.

Concrete results already emerging

In fact, our project partners have begun receiving what is needed to feed the people coming to them.  “They have already begun work to help the population.  What our organization is sending is but a bare minimum for the time being.  Our objective of collecting $290,000 is on its way to being achieved!  Let us hope for it and thanks to the generosity of Canadians, that we may do more than we initially planned for.  Thank you for your help with this urgent mission!” declares Mrs. Lalonde.

 

To assist our project partners in Northern Nigeria and in South Sudan, please give at the following address:
www.acn-aed-ca.org/iamstarving/

 

We also welcome donations by credit card over the phone:
1-800-585-6333, Ext 227 for Donor Services.

Finally, cheques can be sent by mail.  Please mention ‘Famine Campaign 2017’ on the envelope and making cheques payable to Aid to the Church in Need.  Our mailing address:

Aid to the Church in Need Canada
Famine Campaign 2017

P.B. Box. 670, Station H
Montreal (Québec) H3G 2M6

*

 


 

Hunger Relief in Nigeria – “I am Starving ” Campaign

28.06.2017 in Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Famine, Nigeria

Nigeria

Hunger Relief – I am Starving Campaign

 

Aid to the Church in Need is participating in a large fundraising campaign launched with the Catholic Bishops of Canada on June 7th. 

 

This cry from the heart, which has sprung from the episcopacy, reflects the sense of urgency coming from a population who are becoming hungrier by the day.

 

Our organization accepted the call to act.  We will do so in direct partnership with our project partners situated in Nigeria and South Sudan.This week, we will turn our gaze toward the difficult situation found in the northeastern section of the country with the most elevated population in Africa.  That is, Nigeria.

 

Alongside the devastating effects of famine, the people are equally, if not, cruelly, affected by the presence of armed conflicts.  Estimates show that as of 2009, approximately 1.9 million people have had to abandon their homes and fields. Right now, nearly 44,000 people are facing starvation and this number could rise to a frightening 7.5 million people in the days and weeks to come.

 

We now need $150,000 to provide these people with food and seeds so that they can start again, for these seeds represents one of their only sources of nourishment.

 

Thank you for supporting this pan-Canadian initiative! Please do not forget, the Canadian government will match your dollar and place it in their Famine Relief Fund