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ACN Press Release: #RedWednesday A first in Canada

19.11.2018 in ACN Canada, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Mario Bard, Religious freedom, Violence against Christians, World

 

Press Release

#RedWednesday
A first in Canada

Montreal, Friday November 16 – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Rimouski, Hearst, and Quebec and more: Wednesday November 21st, close to 50 activities planned, each one connected to Red Wednesday (#RedWednesday) will take place in dioceses across Canada.  Initiated a few years ago by the international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), this event helps to sensitize and inform people about the situation of 200 million Christians who regularly live situations of persecution and discrimination because of their faith, and in a particularly acute way in at least 30 countries.

 

This is the fifth Mass for persecuted Christians to be held in Montreal where the event saw it’s beginning in Canada.  Msgr Christian Lépine will preside over the liturgy which will begin at 7:30pm and will be preceded by a 5 à 7 gathering around the subject of religious freedom – created for youth 18-35 years old, to be held in the basement of the Cathedral.

 

In Toronto, Cardinal Archbishop Thomas Collins will preside over the interfaith prayer vigil beginning at 6:30pm.  In Alberta’s metropolis, Calgary and greater area throughout the diocese many events have been planned including a Rosary Prayer followed by a Mass at Saint Mary’s University.  In Versant la Noel, at Robert Lebel’s, composer of the theme song for World Youth Days in Toronto in 2002 (doors open at 6:15).

 

“This is a first experience for us which is starting on a very positive note!” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director at the ACN Canada.  “We are very happy that so many people are willing to take part in the event and willing to share with us in this deep concern with regard to the situation of persecuted Christians and victims of discrimination in the world.  It is also a way to demonstrate one’s solidarity with those who are suffering.”

 

Some elements that will be present in various buildings across the country – the doorways to the Cathedrals in Montreal and Toronto for example, as well as the interior of the Saint Michael’s Toronto cathedral, will be lit with red lights, the colour of the blood of the martyrs.  The ecumenical pavilion at Versant-la-Noel will be robed in red as well.

 

Many nations deprived of a fundamental right

In his letter inviting the faithful of his diocese to participate in the event, the Archbishop of Calgary, Msgr William T. McGrattan, underlined, “while it is true that Canadian Christians are facing increasing challenges in the practice of our faith, we must also continue to express gratitude for the many liberties which our country provides. Sadly, many nations across the globe continue to deprive their citizens of even the most basic religious freedoms.

Currently, over 30 events have been organized in his diocese, generally masses and moments of prayer prepared as acts of solidarity with persecuted Christians suffering from severe forms of discrimination.

 

ACN’s 2018 report on Religious Freedom launch date: November 22

“This Red Wednesday is also in accord with the publication of our Religious Freedom in the World Report 2016-2018 which will be launched the following day, Thursday November 22, at the Vatican,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde for whom this event represents a shift in the understanding Catholics here have of religious persecution lived by Christians.  “I think that people are beginning to grasp the scope of the problem and realize that article 18 of the Universal Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that should ensure the right to religious freedom in all signatory countries, is far from being respected.”

This will be the fourteenth edition of the ACN report on Religious Freedom in the World. It examines the situation in over 190 different countries and documents not only the current legal situation but also the abuses against the right to religious freedom over the time period 2016–2018. The report also details developments and changes in the situation in a number of the most critically threatened countries documented in the previous report of 2014-2016.

Nigeria: Fulani Herdsmen – mostly Muslim – threaten farmers – mostly Christians. Economic or religious conflict? Answer November 22nd
(Photo: © Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Directorate of Social Communications)

 

The report will only be available online in Canada, in French and in English at the following website : www.religion-freedom-report.org. An executive summary will be available on ACN Canada’s website: www.aed-canada.org.

For more information:

http://bit.ly/RWednesday-Canada
1-800-585-6333 or,
info@acn-canada.org


Source: Mario Bard, Information, Aid to the Church in Need Canada
Amanda Griffin, English Information, ext. 221 or toll free at 1-800-585-6333
com@acn-canada.org
Website: acn-canada.org Cell. Phone: 514-967-8340

*ACN’s articles are given freely for partial or full publication on condition that ©Aid to the Church in Need is mentioned as the source.  If you would like to use an original photo, or for an interview with the National Director, Marie-Claude Lalonde, please contact us at the coordinates above.Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, is a Pontifical Charity which has as Mission to provide assistance to Catholics wherever the Church suffers from poverty or persecution. The international charity operates offices in 23 countries including Canada, who together support projects in over 145 countries.

 

 

 

ACN Project of the Week – A pilgrimage to Fatima for 50 young Catholics from Russia

07.07.2017 in ACN International, Fatima, Journey with ACN, World

Russia

A pilgrimage to Fatima for 50 young Catholics

This year, the Church is celebrating the centennial of the apparitions at Fatima.  In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared six times to three shepherds and entrusted them with a message for the world.  She warned the children of the danger that the Russian Revolution and Communism represented for Humanity.  She revels to them that prayer, repentance and inner conversion are the means by which the wars and calamities could in fact be prevented for the world.

 

On October 13, the day of the very last apparition – over 50,000 people were witness to a miracle often deemed the ‘Miracle of the Sun’. At the very place above the apparitions, the sun began to spin and then zigzag careening to the earth before returning back toward the sky.  The two little shepherds, Francisco and Jacinta, died of Spanish Fever in 1919 and 1920, respectively.  They were canonized this past May 13 by Pope Francis. As for Lucia, she became a Carmelite nun – Sister Lucie – and lived to be 97 years old at Carmel de Coimbra.  Her beatification process was initiated in 2008, three years after her death.

 

Inspiration for giving God to the world

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The pontifical charity has very close ties to the Fatima message.  During his lifetime, the founder of the international charity, Father Werenfried van Straaten, considered the message given at Fatima by the Holy Mother as the guiding principle informing all his actions.  He first heard talk of Fatima in 1942 while still a young religious Premonstratensian.  On several occasions, he consecrated Aid to the Church in Need to the Holy Mother of Fatima, for it was clear to him that the world was in danger of death if the call of the Holy Mother was not followed.

The “rebellion against God,” culminating during the Russian Revolution and the unprecedented persecution of the Church which followed has continued to this day in various forms.  ACN is an immediate response to the call of the Holy Mother of God to convert and to turn towards God.

In this jubilee year, initiatives to commemorate the Fatima message are planned across the entire planet .  Some are supported by ACN, for example the pilgrimage of 50 young Russian Catholics to the Fatima sanctuary.  For these young Catholics who feel like a small minority in a majority Orthodox country, such a pilgrimage to one of the most significant Catholic sanctuaries signifies a lot,  affirming them in their faith and giving them the opportunity to pray with thousands of other pilgrims from around the world.

 

Thanks to you, our benefactors, we were able to give them $9,000 for their journey, which we believe will be a moving one which they will carry with them throughout their lives and faith journey.

 

Photo top: Portugal, Fatima 13.05.2017 
Pope Francis in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Portuguese Marian shrine of Fatima.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 


 

Aid to the Church in Need – A Record Year in Donations

05.07.2017 in ACN Canada, ACN International, Annual Report, World

Aid to the Church in Need in the Middle East: support that has continued from 2016 through to 2017. © ACN

Aid to the Church in Need

Another record year

 

Königstein/Montreal 05.07.2017—  In 2016, the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has once more generated a record sum in donations. The charity collected $189,550,370 in total, nearly 13.5 million more than in 2015, making possible the funding of 5,303 projects in 148 countries last year. Africa gained the lion’s share with 34 percent of projects funded on the continent.

 

The growth of the Church in Africa is seen reflected in a significant fraction of the projects also being located in Africa. The countries situated in the Sahelian zone receive particular attention, as do Northern Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania—all countries in which an aggressive form of Islam is spreading. Emergency and subsistence aid in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, is a major cost factor. This aid went to securing a Christian presence in its region. Among all the countries, Iraq and Syria received the most aid in 2016 with 14.2 and 8.7 million dollars, respectively. This is, of course, due to the political situation in this region. Over 87.9 million dollars have flowed into the crisis areas in the Middle East since 2011, 26.6 million dollars in the past year alone.  Aid is expected to continue its exponential growth in 2017 as well.

 

 

 Packing ACN food parcel bags for Internally Displaced People at the packing centre in Ankawa, Erbil, in the Kurdish Region of Iraq

 

For example, the reconstruction project put in place by ACN, with three other Churches in the Nineveh Plains region of Iraq. This initiative has been created to help Christians return to their villages liberated from the grip of ISIS.

 

Vicariate of Chaco, Paraguay: Sisters are able to support the poorest of people through education, catechesis, presence, etc. – without the worry of what they will be eating tomorrow, thanks to ACN benefactors.

Construction Supporting Religious Sisters

As in previous years, a majority of the total aid approved for reconstruction projects received a 30 percent share of the total amount.  Over 1,200 chapels, churches, cathedrals and seminaries received co-financing around the world, mainly in the regions most devastated by forces of nature, with one third of these construction projects funded in Africa.

 

Emergency aid for the Middle East and subsistence aid for Religious Sisters follows closely, as well as formation aid helping an estimated 30,000 catechists and pastoral agents. Much attention was given to aid in Central and Eastern Europe who in the process of shifting from construction to training and continuing education. The Balkan countries received much attention because of the presence of radical forms of Islam.

 

Thanks to Mass Offerings, one in nine priests (43,015 in total) received help in the form of Mass Offerings in Africa (14,403) and in particularly in  Asia (11,293). Aid for 10,760 seminarians was approved, a number equivalent to every eleventh seminarian worldwide. Most were preparing for the priesthood in Africa (4,667), Latin America (2,900) and Eastern Europe (1,577).

 

 

DEM.REP. CONGO 800 ordinary masses for 10 Redemptorist Missionary Fathers, 2015 – 2016

With regard to Religious Sisters, formation and/or subsistence aid were granted to 11,080 among them, or to every 62nd Sister worldwide. In 2015, every 67th Sister received aid. In most cases, the help was in the form of subsistence aid for Religious Sisters in contemplative orders. Additional funding was provided for transportation in the form of 375 cars, 149 motorcycles, 239 bicycles and 2 boats.

 

Never before has Aid to the Church in Need collected so many funds in a one year span. Just under two thirds of donations (65 percent) issued from individual donations, a fifth (or 21.8 percent) from legacies.

 

The pontifical charity received most of its donations from France (43.2 million), followed by Great Britain (26.6 million), Spain (over 19.3 million), Germany (18 million) as well as Switzerland and Liechtenstein (13.3 million).

TOGO  Construction of the catechism rooms for the parish of St Paul Apostle of the Nations of Dapaong.

 

The Canadian office collected 3 million dollars.  Overall, the pastoral charity maintains its national offices with fundraising activities in 23 countries. Finally, 2,109 projects did not receive approval. Administration costs accounted for 6.4 percent of the budget (in 2015: 6.5 percent). These figures and statistics were audited and attested by the international auditing firm KPMG.

 

Read the ACN Annual Report 2016

 


 

 

ACN Interview – calls for reconciliation

16.12.2016 in By Andrea Krogmann, Syria, Urgent need, World

Aleppo

Father Ziad launches call for reconciliation

 

Father Ziad Hilal, a Jesuit living in Aleppo the Syrian project representative for Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), has launched a call so that the parties in conflict who are devastating the former economic lung of Syria and calling also to the West, to renounce to all provocations and commit themselves to reconciliation.

Following a first cease-fire agreement which came into effect on Wednesday for the hard-fought Syrian city of Aleppo, but which wasn’t respected – along with acts of violence by pro-Syrian fighters toward the civilian population which were reported – a second attempt seemed to work on Thursday. Many media reports indicate that civilians can now leave the Eastern part of Aleppo in relative security.

 

Father Ziad Hilal, who was a guest at Aid to the Church in Need Canada last June in Aleppo, talked with Aid to the Church in Need  spoke with journalist Andrea Krogmann on Wednesday.

 

 


Jesuit convent and its damages.

Andrea Krogmass (AK): Father Ziad Hilal, what is the current situation in Aleppo? Is the cease-fire being observed? (Interview on Wednesday, December 14, 2016)

Father Ziad (FZ) No, after a pause the fighting has obviously broken out again. We hear bombs and missile fire relatively close by. Not far from us there are two areas where the rebels are holed up and refuse to surrender. Up to now we’ve only heard fighting.

(AK) And in your area?

(FZ) In our area it’s quiet. Many people have come from the east of the city to the west. Numerous organisations are there to help them. It has been a very cold day.

But only a few days ago our convent was the target of an attack. In our building a missile struck at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening and caused material damage. We are normally celebrating Holy Mass at this time in our church, but on this particular Saturday we were on a retreat with a community of Sisters. That’s what saved us!

 

Maronite Church in Aleppo

(AK) How do you estimate the present situation in the east of Aleppo?

(FZ) For the first time in five years I was able to visit the eastern part of the city and get an idea of the situation, specifically in the Christian quarter of Al-Midan. All you see is total destruction. Our Saint Vartan Centre has also been severely damaged. And then there are the two parts of the city where the rebels are resisting. I don’t understand why they’re doing that. After all, they have no option.

 

(AK)   Were you able to drive to the eastern part without any difficulty?

(FZ) Yes, I was received well. There are army checkpoints but they let me through without further ado.

 

(AK)   There have been media reports of massacres committed against the civilian population by the Syrian army and its allies…

(FZ) I have my doubts as to these reports. There may have been isolated cases but we haven’t heard anything here. You have to know that these days a lot of false information and fake pictures are being circulated. Organizations on the spot, such as the Red Cross, have not propagated such news to date. The problem is that people tend to exaggerate. It’s important not to provoke at this point, but to remain calm. The thing is to encourage people to accept one another and to dare to try reconciliation.

(AK)   Can you see any signs of such reconciliation?

(FZ) Not yet. We’ve destroyed the city because we haven’t yet managed to come together in a dialogue. We’ve lost our civilization and destroyed our history. What for? It’s a tragedy.

 

(AK)   Many Syrians give foreign forces the principal blame for the war…

(FZ) We mustn’t point the finger at others: first and foremost, we are the guilty ones. But I must say that the media are playing a miserable role in this war. They are provoking the two sides and setting one against the other. These provocations have got to stop.

 

Saint-Vartan of Aleppo

(AK)   Now that the eastern part of the city has been liberated, so to speak, do you see any hope of a rapprochement?

(FZ) The fight for Aleppo has been a bitter one. The city has been completely destroyed and an inordinate amount of patience was needed even to achieve the present cease-fire. But we must keep our hopes up, otherwise why are we still here? In the course of its history Aleppo has experienced many conquerors. Thousands and thousands have died here and the city has been destroyed time and again. And yet it has always bounced back. So let us hope!

 

(AK)   Is there anything the west can do?

(FZ) First and foremost: stop the provocations! Call on the politicians to exercise reason and to seek moderate talks and reconciliation. The Middle East must become a peaceful region where all live in peace together. Otherwise it will become hell for us.

 

Since the beginning of the war in Syria in March 2011, Aid to the Church in Need has funded emergency aid projects to the tune of about 22 million dollars CAN. The pastoral charity calls for donations, and in particular for the continued donation of food and clothing and for heating and accommodation in the winter months.

 

 

By Andrea Krogmann, for Aid to the Church in Need International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Canadian office

 

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT 2016

18.11.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Religious freedom, World

World

ACN Report on Religious Freedom Rapport 2016 

“Hyper-extremism” : a threat to World Peace

"I cannot go on living here", laments the father of David, one of the boys killed by the Isis bomb in Qaraqosh. "This country is drenched with blood". The mother, a young woman clothed completely in mourning, buries her head in her hands, weeping. (This was the hardest moment in the trip, please pray for her and for the whole family)

Religious Fundamentalism – more lethal than ever seen before – is unleashing death, destruction, displacement and instability at unprecedented levels, according to a report out today.  This is at least what is concluded in the report published today – online in Canada – by the international pontifical charity, Aid to the Church in Need.

“The Religious Freedom in the World 2016 report, produced by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, warns of the global impact of “a new phenomenon of religiously-motivated violence,” which it terms “Islamist hyper-extremism.”

In defining this new ultra-extremism, the report highlights distinguishing features which are described as evidence of the radicals’ threat to world peace, stability and social harmony in the West.

Iraq, December 2014 A woman with a child at the “Werenfried” centre at the129 District of Ankawa. IRAQ / NATIONAL 14/00247, 150 PVC caravans in Ankawa district for use as emergency accommodation for IDPs (Internally Displaced Peoples) forced from their homes by IS

In fact, key characteristics of “Islamist hyper-extremism” include systematic attempts to drive out all dissenting groups – including moderates, unprecedented levels of cruelty, global reach and the effective use of social media, often used to glamorize violence.

Adding its voice to calls for Daesh (ISIS) persecution to be recognized as genocide, the report’s authors warn of a widespread attempt to replace pluralism with a religious mono-culture.

Extremism threatens diversity

The report, which assesses the situation regarding religious freedom in each of the world’s 196 countries, concludes: “In parts of the Middle East including Iraq and Syria, this hyper-extremism is eliminating all forms of religious diversity and is threatening to do so in parts of African and the Asian Sub-Continent.”

(From left to right) Bishop Joseph Arshad, Father Emmanuel Pervez, footballer Salim Bad and Sumundri Football Club Manager Mohammed Shafiq.

Father Mourad during the press conferece in Rome

Father Mourad during the press conferece in Rome

This is echoed in the report’s foreword by Father Jacques Mourad, a Christian monk who was held by Daesh in Syria for five months before escaping in October 2015.

Fr Mourad writes: “Our world teeters on the brink of complete catastrophe as extremism threatens to wipe out all trace of diversity in society.”

This 13th biennial report, which draws on research by journalists, academics and clergy, records that in the two-year period under review from June 2014 to June 2016, attacks linked to “hyper-extremism” had taken place in one out of five countries worldwide (or 20%) – from Australia to Sweden as well as 17 African countries.

Countering the popular view that governments are mostly to blame for persecution, the report puts the blame on non-state militants in 12 of the 23 worst-offending countries. With refugee numbers at a new high of 65.3 million according to the United Nations, the report describes extremist Islamism as a “key driver” in the massive displacement of people fleeing countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria.

http://bit.ly/RFR2016

Some slight improvement

Refugee centre for Yazidi families who had to leave their villages in Northern Iraq because of approaching ISIS fighters. Yazidis are located in several centres around Kurdistan, majority of them being in Zakhu and Dohuk regions.The Aid to the Church in Need report goes on to highlight the ‘domino effect’ on countries in the West whose socio-religious fabric is being destabilized by the arrival of unprecedented numbers of refugees.

Such problems are, according to the report, compounded by the West falling victim to a sudden increase in fundamentalist Islamist attacks.

According to the report, however, not all problems regarding religious freedom are to do with militant Islam – with a “renewed crackdown” on religious groups reported in China and Turkmenistan and an ongoing denial of human rights for people of faith in worst-offending North Korea and Eritrea where human-rights are practically non-existent.

©Photopin

©Photopin

Nor is the outlook universally bleak – looking at Bhutan, Egypt and Qatar, countries notorious for religious freedom violations, the report found that the situation had improved for faith minorities during the period under review.

This is the 13th edition of this report produced by Aid to the Church in Need. The charity provides emergency aid and help for persecuted and other suffering Christians in 140 countries around the world.

The ‘Religious Freedom in the World’ 2016 report’

is available at  www.acn-aed-ca.org/religious-freedom-report


LetsbeOne: ACN and WYD

18.08.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Aleksandra Szymczak, By Maria Lozano, Feature Story, World, WYD, Youth Apostolate

“Let’s be One” Campaign

3,000 postcards for the young people of the Church in need

 

The international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is taking stock of its campaign “Let’s be One,” launched at the World Youth Day in Cracow from 26 to 31 July 2016. The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of the situation of those young Christians who couldn’t come to Cracow. The campaign was very successful. 3,000 postcards were sent in 23 languages from those at the WYD to other young people in 100 different countries, especially those suffering persecution or war.

letsbeone 3

During the WYD, ACN staff informed interested people about the situation of the suffering Church worldwide at their “Vocation Centre.” Young people visiting the ACN booth were invited to show their solidarity and unity in prayer by writing a personalized postcard addressed to their chosen country, which ACN has arranged to forward via its project partners. The greatest number of these were addressed to Syria and Iraq.

Melisa from Panama (the country due to host the next WYD, in 2019) has written to the people of Syria saying: “At this moment my heart is full of love, which I want to give you, to tell you that God loves you infinitely. And I love you too. Wherever you are, my heart, my strength and my prayers are with you. The Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ is the light and the power which unites you and me. I hope you will find the peace which only He can give. I will be with you always. Melisa”.

Veronika’s message from Poland is addressed to Iraq, from where only a  small group of 200 young people were able to attend the WYD. It reads: “I am young, but I believe I can do a lot for peace in the world. I am sad that I can’t meet with you in Kracow. Everyone here wants to know you, and I am sure that everyone is praying for you and your country. I am thinking about you. Jesus is with you. Be STRONG!

 

letsbeone 2

 

Many messages were destined for countries suffering from poverty, political instability or war. Among them South Sudan, where since 2013 a fresh civil war has engulfed hundreds of thousands of lives and left about a million people internally displaced. ACN had already been informed early on in the WYD that none of the 18 young people expected from Sudan and South Sudan had been granted visas, and therefore could not take part.

Melanie, from Germany, wrote to the people of South Sudan: “I am glad to be here at the World Youth Day, but I am really sorry that it isn’t possible for you to be here. I will pray for you and your friends who didn’t get the chance to come here. Also I will pray for the peace in the world and in your country”.

Maria, from Spain, wrote to the young people of Sudan, in the north, where most of the Christians are discriminated against: “I want you to know that I think you are very brave to have so much faith, and that you even risk your lives for it. I know that we can learn a lot from you and this is why I pray for you, so that one day you can experience the WYD and so that you realize that you are not alone. With lots of love, Maria.

letsbeone 4

The postcards from the participants at the WYD included many extremely touching messages from young people who themselves come from countries where the Church is in need.  Addressed to their brothers and sisters struggling in other countries they wrote things like: “Dear Friend, I am so happy that I have this opportunity to write to you. I want you to know that God’s love and mercy is for all of us. I am praying for you in a special way. You are unique and God loves you!” wrote Salome, from India, to the people of Kenya.

This was the message sent to the people of Niger by Alejandra: “Dear Friends, I want to tell you that there is someone who loves you so much and prays and takes care of you always. His name is Jesus. May God bless you, and you also have a friend from Bolivia who is praying for you – me.

Some of the messages included very specific promises of prayers. For example, Father Andrew from the USA wrote to the people of Vanuatu, in the Pacific Ocean: “I am keeping you in my prayers and will remember you at my Mass tomorrow. God bless you.”  Some were also asking for prayers themselves, like the young seminarian from Poland who addressed his postcard to the young people of Israel: “I am brother Celestino, I am a Franciscan. I am training for the priesthood. I want to work in the Holy Land. Please pray for me and for my vocation. I pray for you and love you.

Poland, Krakow 27.07.2016 The ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) stand at the Vocational Centre: The young participant is wearing different WYD bracelets - among the also the one of ACN with "Let´s Be One"

Poland, Cracow 27.07.2016 The ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) stand at the Vocational Centre: The young participant is wearing different WYD bracelets – among the also the one of ACN with “Let´s Be One”

There were also postcards addressed to the young people featured on the the “selfie” videos for the ACN “Let’s be One” campaign. These videos were shown online and also on the big screens before the meetings with Pope Francis.

Even though WYD 2016 is now over, ACN has announced that the “Let’s be One” campaign will continue, as a powerful bridge of spiritual solidarity and love between the youth of the world and as a sign of hope and life. Dominika from Poland has understood the core message of the ACN campaign when she writes to Egypt: “I want to share with those of you who couldn’t come to the WYD in Cracow the spirit that was present here with us over those days. May it accompany you and help you in your daily life. I am sending you a little piece of this atmosphere of the meeting with Pope Francis, who brought us hope for better days.

ACN will now forward these postcards, via their project partners worldwide.

 

By Aleksandra Szymczak  & Maria Lozano, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada

 

 

#LetsBeOne – A message from Poland to WYD

27.07.2016 in ACN Canada, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Poland, World, Youth Apostolate

#LetsBeOne – A message from Poland to WYD

Today we meet Michal from Poland, the host country.

Michal who is active in the l’Arche community founded by Jean Vanier, will be attending the WYD.

But he will be with his group of people, all living with disabilities.  He will be there first to serve, before experiencing for himself this great gathering.

Learn how much the young man is receiving from his work.
(Production: Catholic Radio and Television Network)

Messages from all over the world to WYD!

24.07.2016 in World, Youth Apostolate

Aid to the Church in Need brings you messages from all over the world to WYD!

World Youth Days 2016 will begin on this July 26, in Krakow, Poland. Aid to the Church in Need Canada would like to invite you to meet the many faces of the young people who had to stay behind because of a lack of means, or because they have chosen to ensure the presence of an essential service in their local community. They are dynamic faces of the Church of today.

Be there tomorrow!