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Prayer

 

ACN Press: A Papal Blessing of an Icon for Syria

16.09.2019 in ACN, Pope Francis, Prayer, Press Release, Syria

A Papal Blessing of an Icon for Syria
Marie-Claude Lalonde among ACN delegates to Vatican

By Mario Bard, ACN Canada
Translated by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

Monday, September 16, 2019 — The national director of Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN), Marie-Claude Lalonde, attended this past Sunday, September 15, the blessing of an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows and Consoler of the Syrian People by Pope Francis. 

The ceremony took place at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. The icon will be carried through 34 dioceses in Syria—as a sort of pilgrimage—offered for the veneration of the faithful along its path intended to finish in Damascus, in May 2020.

“It is a great joy for me to have participated in this event which took place just before the Sunday Angelus,” said a joyful Marie-Claude Lalonde on the other end of the line. “This blessing is a pure joy as we are at the very heart of ACN’s mission: providing pastoral support to Christians who are in need.” And she adds: “This initiative touches on every one of the calls for peace that Pope Francis has launched to put a stop to the abominable conflict that has caused so much suffering for Syrian civilians. With this gesture he has reaffirmed with strength his support of the Syria population broken by war.”

 

Pilgrimage of the icon: For the healing of hearts

This icon of Our Lady of Sorrows was written last August by Father Spiridon Kabbash of Homs and will be presented for the veneration of the faithful in 34 dioceses of Syria, likely until May 31, 2020.

I greeted the Pope in the name of all Canadian benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need Canada,” says Mrs. Lalonde

“The blessing of an icon can seem inconsequential to secularized societies like our own,” explains Mrs. Lalonde. “But in Syria, religious traditions are still present in public and social society and these gestures—such as to write an icon, bless it and offer it for veneration by the faithful for a period of nine months is a veritable balm, immense and almost essential for all Christians who are wounded by this filthy war, they who have survived through over eight years of fratricidal conflict.”

“Finally, I greeted the Pope in the name of all Canadian benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need Canada,” says Mrs. Lalonde in closing.

The Pope’s message to the families who will accompany the icon is: “You are not alone; we are with you.”

Meanwhile in Syria, the 6,000 rosaries blessed by Pope Francis one month ago were distributed throughout Syrian parishes as part of a larger prayer campaign for and with the Syrian people called Console my People, an initiative promoted by Aid to the Church in Need and the Syrian Churches.

Sunday, September 15, 2019 : Pope Francis,  blessing the Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows and Consoler of the Syrian People. Next to the Icon, Father Spiridon Kabbash of Homs, the writer of the icon. (© ACN/AED)

A Drop of Milk in Homs, Syria

Aid to the Church in Need Canada continues to promote its fundraising campaign to raise over $378,000, for the provision of daily milk, for over 6,000 children aged 0 to 10 in the city of Homs for a period of six months.

There are three easy and secure ways to give for these children:

  • Give through our secure site: http://bit.ly/DropofMilk2019
  • By telephone: 1(800) 585-6333, Ext 222
  • By mail Aid to the Church in Need Canada
    PO. Box 670, Station H
    Montréal (Québec) H3G 2M6

 

ACN Press – The launch of ACN Canada’s A Drop of Milk Campaign

19.07.2019 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Children, Middle East, Syria

A Drop of Milk

ACN CANADA ADOPTS PROJECT IN HOMS, SYRIA

Objective: 378,000 dollars from now to September 30th for children 0 to 10 in the city of Homs.

 

Montreal, July 18, 2019 — “Regardless of the almost complete halt to violence in Syria, everything is still left to do,” exclaims Marie-Claude Lalonde, national director of Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN). Along with her team, she is launching a campaign in support of a project called A Drop of Milk which aims to provide milk for six months to children ages 0 to 10 in a neighbourhood of Homs, Syria. To do so, ACN needs to collect 378,000 dollars.

 

Homs: A Campaign to Restore Hope

“We are very pleased to sponsor this project created first in Aleppo, in 2015, by Quebec physician of Syrian origin, Dr. Nabil Antaki,” explains Mrs. Lalonde. “Very quickly, Dr. Antaki observed how significant the needs were and why in 2017, he turned to ACN for help to ensure the continuation of what had become an indispensable program.”

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

Just like the former economic bastion of Syria that was once Aleppo, the city of Homs was also devastated by the bloodied conflict that began in March 2011 leaving behind 300 to 550 thousand dead, according to organizations. At the peak of the conflict, ten million people were displaced and made refugees within, or outside, the country.

 

Music and Poetry for a Drop of Goodness

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” said the celebrated philosopher, Plato. In Chantal Roussety’s case, however, we can say that necessity was the mother of her generosity! In fact, the musician who plays the piano and the organ among othershas in her little apartment in the East End of Montreal, for the last three years, held concerts where just over a dozen or so people participate and give a donation specifically for the Drop of Milk project. “The continual appearance of images of war for so many years and in particular, children, led me to feeling physically ill because I felt powerless to help them,” explains Mrs. Roussety earnestly.

 

“Einstein’s words: The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything, went straight to my heart. When an acquaintance told me about the Drop of Milk project supported by Aid to the Church in Need, I decided to add my own drop, if I may say, to help assuage an ocean of misery.”

 

Marie-Claude Lalonde is very happy about this initiative. “This year, the concerts have raised over $3,000—bringing the total to over $7,000 over three years. A wonderful success which is owed to the incredible generosity shown by Chantal, who has become a dear friend and benefactor for the children and for ACN,” she explains. “These concerts are now very important to us, and of course, to the children of Syria.”

In fact, for the fourth edition, Mrs. Roussety hopes to widen the circle of those who choose to finance the Drop of Milk project, while taking in an enjoyable artistic evening filled with emotion. “We are already looking for a hall, because my place is becoming a little bit too small! And I feel like sharing my love and music and the arts while also supporting a project that provides concrete help to the children of war.”

 

In the meantime, the public can give to the Drop of Milk project for the children of Homs.

Donations are welcome through the secure webpage

By phone : 1-800-585-6333, Donor Services at extension 222 or 225

By mail to :
Aid to the Church in Need Canada
A DROP OF MILK
PO Box 670, Station H
Montréal QC    H3G 2M6

 

On behalf of the children in Homs: Thank You!


To request an interview please contact Amanda Griffin, Information Department, ACN-Canada – 514-932-0552, ext. 221 – or toll free at 1-800-585-6333, Cell: 514-967-8340
com@acn-canada.org                      Website: www.acn-canada.org

Nigeria: Pray for peaceful elections! – Interview with Mgrs. Kaigama – ACN-Interview

13.02.2019 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN Interview, Africa, by Grace Attu, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Mgrs. Ignatius Kaigama, Nigeria, Prayer

Nigeria 

Pray for peaceful elections! 

 “If the elections are marred by violence many innocent Nigerians will pay the price. Aid to the Church in Need can mobilize their world network of friends, benefactors and supporters to commit Nigeria to special prayers at this critical time of elections.”

***

*This article was published before the decision of the Nigeria electoral commission to delay the election to next Saturday (February 23rd), and also the second round from March 2nd to March 9. 

Nigerians will be going to the polls on 16th February and 2nd March 2019 to elect a president, Federal Parliament and other representatives. Parts of the Country have continued to experience violence from the Muslim extremist groups such as Boko Haram.  Aid to the Church in Need spoke with Mgr Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Catholic Archbishop of Jos regarding the current situation, the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria and his hopes for the country.   Finally, let remind that the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria still represent an extremely strong moral authority esteemed by the population, in a country where there is great corruption, and also, violence against Christians, especially in the central and northeastern regions of Nigeria.

***

Interview by Grace Attu

Bishop Kaigama discussing with Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of ACN in Canada. Mgrs Kaigama toured in Canada in June 2018 talking about the many challenges that Nigeria People are facing.

As the Country’s General Elections approach next weekend, what is the situation across the Country?

Mgr Kaigama: Like every pre-election period everywhere in the world, political emotions here are high. Many politicians and their allies are politically paranoid. One hears of how easily some politicians switch from one political party to another which shows that their reason for being in politics is not motivated by good political principles or ideology or people-friendly political manifestos, but mainly for personal interests. Most of them are hardly concerned about good governance and improving the lot of the common person, especially the poor, marginalized, unemployed, victims of religious extremism and the millions who are also victims of the poisonous by-products of pandemic corruption.

Compared to previous pre-election campaigns, the present campaigns even though have recorded some casualties are fairly moderate, but what stands out is the sometimes wild and unsubstantiated statements made by some politicians that could be regarded as hate speeches or incitements to violence.

While a few political rallies have already recorded a few accidental deaths and the disruption of peace, we must commend the campaigns of most of the parties that have carried out their activities peacefully. However, there is a general tension and apprehension as to what may be the likely reactions of those who already feel that there might be manipulations of the elections.

 

Attacks by Boko Haram have intensified lately. Do you think this is connected to the elections?

Mgr Kaigama: Even before now, Boko Haram has intensified its attacks by killing a number of military personnel. The insurgents have become so daring as to take on armed personnel and to inflict heavy casualties on them and not even sparing International Aid workers. They boldly warn the international community to stay off their track. They are doing their best to take over certain parts of Nigeria and neighbouring countries to consolidate their quest for the Islamic State of West Africa.

Attacks by Boko Haram have surprisingly intensified in the last couple of days in areas like Michika, Shuwa, Madagali, Mubi, – in Borno and Adamawa States. Some people say that the renewed attacks are politically motivated or sponsored to score political points or may be an attempt to disenfranchise some of the electorate during the elections. It is clear, however, that Boko Haram wants to make a statement that it has not been defeated. The threat by Boko Haram is still real. They are far from being defeated.

 

Do you have any concerns?

Mgr Kaigama: I should be concerned. When peace is disrupted, Catholic religious leaders like me suffer more than those elected into government because people flock to our houses and offices knowing that there are no gun-wielding police or soldiers to scare them off or police dogs to sniff and bark at them when they come to ask help for the basic things of life. We have to manage to assist those who are displaced and without means of livelihood. Because of how overstressed and overwhelmed we religious leaders become when there are crises, we pray and work very hard to proactively promote the culture of peace and we are making concerted efforts to ensure that we have free and fair elections which will culminate in peace for all.

Signing of the “Plateau Peace Commitment for the Elections”. The document called “Plateau Peace Commitment in view of the 2019 general elections” was signed by the governourship Candidates in Plateau States and witnessed by traditional/religious heads, civil society groups, senior security personnel and various community stakeholders .The signing ceremony was organized by the Dialogue Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre of the diocese. 

If the elections are marred by violence, many innocent Nigerians will pay the price. I hope for fair, peaceful and credible elections; for good, patriotic, selfless and God-fearing leaders to emerge, who will be more concerned about the masses rather than their personal ambition and luxury of the office. Well-formed and qualified youths are on the streets in huge numbers without jobs. We hope that those aspiring to offices at all levels will consider the plight of the youth as a priority.

 

What role is the Church playing to contribute to the proper conduct of elections?

Mgr Kaigama: As the Catholic Church in Nigeria does during every election, our Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) is proactive and highly sensitive to the need for peaceful and fair elections. The JDPC has served creditably as election monitors/observers in the past, pointing out flaws, weaknesses and strengths witnessed. A statement has recently been issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria encouraging prayers, proper conduct of elections and correct attitudinal approach by citizens of the elections.

The Church in the Archdiocese of Jos has been frantically multitasking as a way of contributing to the peaceful elections. We have cautioned our members to be law abiding, to go on peacefully and not to allow themselves to be used by selfish politicians. They must ensure that they possess their voters’ card and go out to vote. As priests, we encourage our people to be prayerful and alert during this season; we caution ourselves the clergy to remain non-partisan. Our Justice, Peace and Development Commission has in the past two years been running projects in target communities for peaceful elections. They have taught different communities what to ask for by training them on the ‘Charter of Demands’ when the politicians come looking for their votes. Our JDPC has organized training on peace building and Alternatives to Violence Programmes (PB/AVP) in schools and communities. As part of the activities leading to the elections, our Dialogue Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre recently organized a peace accord signing ceremony for all the governorship candidates in Plateau State, which was witnessed by traditional/religious heads, civil society groups, senior security personnel and various community stakeholders. Also, going into the elections, as a Church our JDPC is officially accredited as election observers. We are equally prepared to intervene and manage post-election violence should it occur. We pray it doesn’t.

 

What are your hopes for Nigeria?

Mgrs. Kaigama talking during the signing of the “Plateau Peace Commitment for the Elections”.

Mgr Kaigama: I am a strong optimist. I believe strongly that the best for Nigeria lies somewhere close by. I am deeply patriotic about my country Nigeria. There are so many negative things said about Nigeria but I believe that Nigeria with all her defects and imperfections will surprise the world one day, leaving those who ridicule and write her off spellbound and flabbergasted. Nigerians are a peaceful, joyful, hardworking, religious and resilient people who are only unfortunate not to have selfless leaders with vision but leaders who take joy in pilfering the enormous wealth God has blessed us with. This, they do with the collaboration of some foreign countries, companies, organizations and individuals.

Many like me believe that Nigeria will survive as one nation and one people. The time is coming nearer when a moral revolution by the youths, transcending tribe and religion will bring into leadership only serious persons who are prepared to suffer and even lay down their lives for Nigeria and Nigerians rather than asking the poor people to die for them (political leaders). Those who manipulate elections, buy votes, use government structures to win elections, announce losers as winners and winners as losers will sooner than later have nowhere to hide.

 

How can ACN and her benefactors help Nigeria at this time?

Mgr Kaigama: ACN can mobilize their world network of friends, benefactors and supporters to commit Nigeria to special prayers at this critical time of elections. We need to support our various peace building, awareness-raising initiatives and various proactive programmes of peace education organized before, during and after the elections. Furthermore support for training/empowerment programmes for our youth, teenage girls and widows is needed, to give them hope and to keep them out of trouble.

Above all, let us be in communion of prayers for peaceful elections and general stability, hoping that by God’s grace the forthcoming elections will produce visionary leaders who will lift this promising country from grass to grace.


Please consider donating to support the work of the Catholic Church in Nigeria

To learn more about our support and projects on Nigeria visit acn-canada.org/nigeria2018

ACN News: Rome – Pope Francis Lights a Candle for Syria

03.12.2018 in ACN International, ACN Italy, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Marta Petrosillo, Pope, Pope Francis, Prayer, Syria

An ACN Initiative

50,000 Candles for Peace in Syria

The international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is launching this Christmas a campaign of prayer, aid and solidarity for the people of Syria entitled Candles for Peace in Syria. The campaign formally begins on the first Sunday of Advent, 2nd December, with the symbolic lighting of a candle by the Holy Father following the recitation of the Angelus prayer.

In the last few days the initiative has involved over 50,000 children, of different religions, from several of the Syrian cities most severely affected by the war, including Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Marmarita, Hassaké, Tartus and Latakia. The children have prayed and decorated candles with symbols of peace– crosses, doves and messages of hope – to convey to the world their longing for peace. For all too often the primary victims of this still ongoing conflict, have been these little Syrian children.

ACN International is calling on people of goodwill all over the world to respond to this cry of peace from the children of Syria, among other things by lighting a candle, as the Holy Father did on Sunday, in order to amplify the resonance of this clarion call for peace from the children of Syria and send out a strong message of hope during the season of Advent.

 

The candle which the Holy Father lit was decorated by a local craftsman from the Bab Touma quarter of the Old City of Damascus and also bears the photos of some 40 children, most of them from Aleppo, together with the logo of the campaign – a dove with outstretched wings in the shape of a child’s hand and the message “Peace for the Children of Syria 2018” – plus the regular logo of ACN International.

This is not the first time that ACN has spoken out for the children of Syria. Back in 2016 the charity made an appeal to the European Parliament, conveying to it pictures drawn by the children, expressing their longing for peace.

Canada: A Prayerful Response and Little Acts of Solidarity

“In Canada, the benefactors who receive the Mirror will be able to direct their donation as a Christmas Gift for Syria,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of ACN.  “ We invite them to pray especially that the families of Syria may fully taste the joy of a peaceful Christmas.  We hope that the Christmases to come will be experienced in peace.”  Aid to the Church in Need has already sent 22.5 million dollars for the reconstruction in Syria which adds to the already 44 million already given since the conflict began in 2011.

New edition of One Million Children – A Powerful Prayer

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

New edition of One Million Children

A Powerful Prayer

 

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

 

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

 

Children in the Philippines praying the Rosary together in 2017.

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

 

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

 

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

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

 


 

Feature story of the week: United in prayer for the Middle East

06.07.2018 in ACN International, ACN NEWS, ACN Spain, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, by Raquel Martin & Maria Lozano, Iraq, Jordan, Prayer

Iraq and Jordan

Day of Prayer for the Middle East

Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, Archbishop Alberto Ortega: “It is not possible to imagine the Middle East without the Christians.”

 

On Wednesday, July 4, the papal Nuncio in Iraq and Jordan, Archbishop Alberto Ortega, visited the Spanish national office of the international Catholic pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), in Madrid.

 

International Conference “Return to the roots: Christians in the Nineveh Plains” hosted by Aid to this Church in Need – At press conference: Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martín (Apostolic Nuncio in Iraq and Jordan) – Photo by Christian Gennari

During his visit to his own native city, Archbishop Ortega underlined the importance of the Day of Reflection and Prayer that Pope Francis will be celebrating tomorrow, Saturday, July 7, in Bari, Italy, along with all the Patriarchs and Heads of the Eastern Churches in the Middle East. The meeting will also address the complicated situation being lived by the Christians in the region.

 

This gesture is intended to bring the faithful to “look to the East,” he explained. “The place where the Christian faith was born; where we should be living in peace; and yet there are conflicts. It is a place where Christians are called to fulfill a most important task.”

 

As Nuncio in Iraq and Jordan, the calling of this meeting is “a very beautiful gesture, for the value of prayer that it contains, which is the most important thing,” according to the Nuncio. “Catholics, Orthodox, Christians of other faiths… All will be praying together, and indirectly calling the attention of the international community to the need to support peace and development in these countries, as well as to support the Christian presence as a positive element for all sides.”

 

Photographer: Jaco Klamer

“It is not possible to imagine the Middle East without the Christians,” Archbishop Ortega added. “It would not be the Middle East; it would be something else, and so it is very important to maintain this gesture, whereby communities of different faiths can live together, mutually respect one another and build up the country together.”

 

In the Middle East, he explained, Christians have always had the mission to be “instruments of peace and reconciliation, of unity and development. It is a mission that requires us to be silent witnesses, since over there we cannot openly preach the presence of the Lord.”

 

And yet, “this very simple and very discreet mission can transform the situation and touch people’s hearts,” he observed. “And it is revealed in the various activities of the Church—her schools, dispensaries, hospitals; all the charitable activity of the Church.”

 

Italy, Rome 28.09.2017 – His Beatitude Louis Raphaël I Sako(Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and the Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church from Iraq)

A new cardinal, also welcomed by Muslims

Archbishop Ortega had just returned from Rome after taking part in the Consistory for the Creation of new Cardinals, among whom was the Chaldean Patriarch, Archbishop Louis Sako.

 

In his estimation, this gesture by Pope Francis is a gesture of “support for the Christians of Iraq, of all the Middle East, of the entire region.” The news of which was received with great gratitude and joy.

 

“The news was very well received, not only by the Christians, but also by many Muslims. There have been a huge number of expressions of appreciation and support sent to the Patriarch by the Muslims, starting with the President of Iraq, the Iraqi Prime Minister and the Minister of external affairs, and also including ordinary people who have seen this appointment as a gesture of closeness by the Pope for the country and also for the Christians.”

 

The new Cardinal Louis Sako will now have “a stronger and more sustained voice, with still greater moral authority” for the support and defence of the Christians in this country, the papal Nuncio affirmed.

 

Almost half the Christian refugees have now returned

Speaking of Iraq, the Nuncio confirmed that the situation in the country is now “somewhat better” and that little by little the Christians are returning to their former homes on the Niniveh plains, “thanks to the support of organizations such as ACN and others and of some national governments,” he added.

 

“Almost half the Christians have now returned to their homes, and this is good news,” he said. “In Qaraqosh, the town with the largest Christian population, over 5,000 families have returned, and little by little, in some of the Christian villages, life is beginning to resume its normal pattern.”

 

Nonetheless, he added that “much remains to be done” and expressed his hope “that the aid may continue to come in, because people can return only if they have homes and can find work—and consequently it is essential to continue the international aid, and the support of the Church, for these people have lost everything for the sake of their faith.”

 

Iraq, June 2018
Mother and daughter of the Syriac Catholic Bassim Family in front of their house in Qaraqosh. It has been reconstructed with the help of ACN – Photo by Oliver Maksan

The simple truth, he said was that the Christians of Iraq simply wish “to be fully recognized as citizens, with the same rights and duties as the rest of the population, and to be appreciated for the work that they do on behalf of all. Very often it is the Muslims themselves, their own neighbours, who tell them they want them to stay and not to go away, because things are better with them there.”

 

A spectacular lesson in forgiveness

In the view of the papal Nuncio, the Christians of Iraq have given two important lessons to the entire universal Church: “the value of the faith, and their union with the Lord, for the sake of whom they have lost everything without a second thought and given up their homes and their work…”

 

And then there is a “spectacular lesson in forgiveness. To hear these Christians forgiving and praying for those who persecuted them is a testimony to the action of the Lord. Humanly speaking, it is extremely difficult to forgive someone who has driven you out of your home, who has caused you to lose everything or murdered one of your loved ones.”

 

From 2011 to June 2018, ACN gave almost 60.6 Million for pastoral projects and emergency aid in Iraq. In 2017 alone, ACN gave 14 Million dollars. The pontifical charity is the most actively involved aid organization on the Nineveh Plains.


ONE MILLION Children Pray for Peace in the World 2017

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

World

ONE MILLION Children Pray for Peace in the World 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

*

 


 

Fatima 2017 and Aid to the Church in Need Take part in the celebration !

06.07.2017 in ACN International, Journey with ACN, Prayer, World

Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrimage with ACN 

From September 9 to 18

 

 

Fatima 2017 and Aid to the Church in Need

Take part in the celebration !

 

In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the charitable organization, Aid to the Church in Need, we would like to offer you the opportunity to participate in a very unique pilgrimage due to its international presence.

 

Organized in collaboration with Spiritours, a specialist in source of faith tours, and the international headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need, this sojourn will offer you out of the ordinary opportunities: attending an international Mass with other individuals close to Aid to the Church in Need, a candle-lit procession, testimonials and moments of reflection with guests from around the world are planned.  Many powerful and unforgettable spiritual moments!

 

Act quickly, the registration deadline is this Sunday, July 9th!

Here is a simple trip outline :

 

*2 999$/per person for a  double occupation. Departure from Montreal or Toronto  *Also available – departures from  Calgary or Vancouver, on demand.

Day 1 – Departure from Montreal or Toronto for Lisbon

 

Day 2 – Arrival in Lisbon and city tour

 

Day 3 – Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO, travel to Fatima.

 

Day 4 – Guided tour of Fatima.  Official opening  of the pilgrimage with a Eucharistic procession in the evening followed by dinner, reciting the Rosary and candlelight procession.

 

Day 5 – Solemn Mass with Cardinal Piacenza presiding.  Free afternoon and possibility of a concert in the evening.

 

Day 6 – Visit Coimbra including time for prayer, testimonials from guests in attendance from around the world.

 

Day 7 – International closing Mass. Departure for Porto.

 

Day 8 – Guided visit in Porto and departure for Santiago de Compostela where a Mass will be celebrated.

 

Day 9 – Free day for exploring, wandering and shopping.

 

Return to Porto.

 

Day 10 – Departure from Porto for Montréal or Toronto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information : http://spiritours.com/voyage/portugal-et-espagne-sept2017/ or call

Mikaël Maniscalco  (514) 374-7965, Ext 207  mikael@spiritours.com

 

 

 

 


 

ACN Feature Story – Albania looks forward to the beatification of its martyrs

28.10.2016 in ACN International, Albania, Pope Francis, Prayer, Religious freedom

Albania

Looks forward to the beatification of 38 martyrs

 “They were tortured to death. They remained loyal to Christ and the Church,” Bishop Massafra of Shkodër

During the 40 years of communist dictatorship in Albania, praying, making the sign of the cross, or simply wearing a cross around one’s neck – just believing – were all acts punishable by law. In 1967, the Balkan country officially proclaimed itself to be the first atheist country in the world.

Churches, mosques and other places of worship were used as shopping centres, sports halls or theaters; as was the Cathedral of Shkodër was used as a municipal sports arena.  On November 5th, 38 martyrs will be beatified in this place which is very special to Albanian Catholics, for after the fall of communism, the first Holy Mass was celebrated in this very Cathedral.

On the cathedral square dedicated to Saint Stephan, a monument has been erected in memory of the martyrs murdered over the course of history out of hatred to religion. Bishop Vicenz Prennushi, Bishop Frano Gjini, Bishop Jul Bonati, Don Alfons Tracki, Don Anton Muzaj, Ms María Tuci … and more, counting to 38 of the faithful.  “Before they were tortured and executed by shooting, they all said, ‘Long live Christ the King, long live Albania. We forgive those who kill us,’” Bishop Massafra of Shkodër, chair of the Albanian Bishops’ Conference, said to the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

 

Thirty-eight stories, of hatred and of terror

María Tuci is the only woman among the Albanian martyrs. She attended the school of the Stigmatines, the Poor Sisters of Saint Francis in Shkodër, and later became a teacher. Her crime was reminding her students of the presence of Christ during the time of the dictatorship. She was arrested and tortured countless times. She was finally put in a bag with a cat. The torturers repeatedly hit the cat with a stick and María later died of the injuries that the terrified animal had inflicted upon her.

Lazer Shantoja, a well-read priest with a special interest in literature and art, was tortured so severely in the environs of Tirana that his own mother begged the murderers to shoot him to finally put an end to his suffering. The priest, writer and deeply patriotic Lek Sirdani was tortured and drowned in sewage.

Ndre Zadeja was the first of those who were executed by shooting. Thus he became the first martyr of the Albanian communist dictatorship. He died in Shkodër. In the interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Massafra said that all who were murdered in that city were forced to go along a particular route that ended at the cemetery wall. There they were “tortured, spat upon, and finally executed by shooting.” The route led them past the cathedral. “This was done on purpose. It was to remind them that they were suffering because of their love for Christ.”

Albania 2 ACN-20160106-34263

 “They are the pride of Albania”

The land with the eagle coat of arms is filled with a pride that transcends borders. It becomes tangible in the thousands of Albanians who were forced to leave their country, especially in the 1990s, in order to have a chance at life. “The beatification ceremony is a joyous festival. Thousands of Albanians all over the world will be following it,” the chair of the National Bishops’ Conference explained. “This small, but great church has given the world church countless martyrs. These were people who had a great loyalty to Christ and the church.”

On the diocesan level, the beatification process of the 38 martyrs of the communist dictatorship began in November 2002 and ended in December 2010. Last April, Pope Francis signed the Decree of Beatification, ensuring the 38 martyrs would be beatified on November 5, 2016.

Despite five hundred years of occupation through the Ottoman Empire, countless raids and the reticence of the communist dictatorship, “Catholicism continued on in Albania. This is thanks to the martyr church,” Bishop Massafra said. Thousands of people lived in concentration camps or in prisons because they believed in God “or in Allah”, the Albanian bishop emphasized. After all, about 60% of the Albanian population was Muslim.

 

Albania 1-20160106-34256Pope Francis: “powerful testimony”

Many died, but others survived the torture.  For example, Sister Marije Kaleta and the priest Ernest Simoni, who will join the College of Cardinals on November 19, gave their testimony during the papal visit to Albania in September 2014, to which Pope Francis was visibly moved: “To listen to a martyr speak about his own martyrdom is powerful indeed!” Pope Francis said at the press conference held during the return flight from the Balkan country.

Francis embraced the two survivors and emphasized that God had “held” them and helped them survive the torture as well as the uncertainty of whether they “would be shot dead or not.” These martyrs played a very important role in the concentration camps and in the prisons because they were the “secret consolers of the other prisoners,” Bishop Massafra explained. They could secretly celebrate Holy Mass and distribute communion, as Ernest Simoni described in his speech before Pope Francis.

 

The Church in need in Albania

Since the collapse of the dictatorship in 1991, the international pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need has carried out more than 125 projects in Albania, including the building of churches, spiritual centres and a seminary for diocesan priests. Furthermore, it has distributed copies of the Youcat, a catechism of the Catholic church that was written for young people. In addition, help is also being provided here and there, one example being a van that was bought for the Franciscans so that they can drive children from rural areas to catechesis. There is an enormous sign on the back of the van that reads, “Jesus lives.” The convent of Discalced Carmelites in Nënshat is also receiving support; this is another way in which aid is being given.

In the Land of the Eagles, the Catholic Church is a great help to the population because aid is provided to everyone, irrespective of their religion. In Albania, 70% of the population is Muslim, 20% Orthodox Christian and 10% Catholic.

 

 

Text by Mónica Zorita, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin