Pope Francis supports Aid to the Church in Need in a new campaign
Montreal/Rome, June 16, 2016 – Tomorrow, Friday June 17 at 1 p.m. (Rome hour), at a press conference in the Sala Marconi held in the Vatican Radio offices, the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will launch its international fundraising campaign “Be God’s Mercy” – a four month global campaign which will run from June 17 through October 4, geared toward the funding of a series of “works” of mercy throughout the world.
It is an initiative with which Pope Francis wishes to personally associate himself by inviting everyone through a video message to be shown during the conference to “carry out works of mercy together with ACN, in every part of the world, in order to meet the many, many needs of today.”
From the pastoral ministry in prisons, to addiction rehabilitation centres, to support groups for women who have suffered violence and help for refugees – these are just some of the kinds of projects Aid to the Church in Need benefactors will support. The campaign will be promoted by all of the 22 national fundraising offices of the foundation throughout the world. It will conclude in Rome on October 4, the feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, at which time ACN will present the Pope with the “first fruits” of its campaign.
The very first benefactor of the campaign is Pope Francis himself who, prior to a recent visit by an Italian ACN delegation to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, entrusted a donation to the charity for Iraqi Christians via Italian Bishop Francesco Cavina of Carpi.
This gift from the Pope will be given to St Joseph’s Clinic in Erbil, which offers free medical (the picture) care to approximately 2,800 refugees of all religions. A description of this project will be given at the press conference on Friday June 17 by Father Imad Gargees, a Catholic priest who works directly with the affected Iraqi refugees. He will also show a short video about the clinic with a message of thanks to the Pope from Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda.
Pope Francis – a friend to ACN
Among those present at the press conference will be international President of ACN, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, and General Secretary, Philipp Ozores. They will be received in a private audience with the Pope, together with other members of the international ACN delegation one hour before the press conference.
Among those addressing the conference, moderated by the Vatican’s own press spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, will be the compelling and authoritative witness, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw of Lahore, Pakistan who, for the first time in Italy will describe how the Christian communities are reacting to the tragic attack on March 27 this year when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a public park where Christians were celebrating the feast of Easter killing 76 people of which 30 were children.
Three projects in the “Be God’s Mercy” campaign will in fact be focused on Lahore, partly in the support of the victims of an earlier March 2015 attack on two churches in the Christian quarter of Youhannabad and partly to improve security measures for one of these churches, the Church of St John, and for the nearby diocesan seminary of St Francis Xavier.
The good relations between Pope Francis and ACN go back a long way. For while still Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the then Cardinal Bergoglio carried out a number of projects with the help of ACN, which he described in a letter written to mark the 60th anniversary of the charity, as a “symbol of communion and fraternity with the suffering Church.” This is another reason why he wanted to associate himself with the ACN campaign of Mercy. As he explains in his video message, A“I am entrusting these works to Aid to the Church in Need.”
More on this story tomorrow on Aid to the Church in need Canada social networks: https://www.facebook.com/AidChurch
For more information about the Be God’s Mercy Campaign, please consult the multi-language website www.acnmercy.org
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