Aid to the Church in Need Internatioanl Tag

 

ACN – Project of the Week – Haïti – Construction a Parish Church

07.03.2018 in ACN PROJECTS, Haiti, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN

Haiti

Construction of a parish church in a new and growing suburb

 

Even before the devastating earthquake of January 2010, which focused world attention on the plight of the country, Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Natural disasters, violence and political unrest, poverty and hunger all played their part, so that it has sometimes seemed that the Haitian people were spared almost nothing in the way of suffering. However, they are incredibly resilient.

 

The majority of Haiti‘s population consist of the descendants of former African slaves. Today, almost 7 million of the country‘s 8.6 million or so inhabitants are Catholics – though syncretistic and pagan rituals and especially the voodoo cult are still very widespread among the population. However, the Church is working very hard to instill an authentic Catholic faith in people‘s hearts. And there are many very lively parishes in which the faithful live their faith with great devotion and deep piety.

 

One such parish is the parish of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in the “Village Créole”, a new suburb in the town of Hinche in the east of the country, on the border with the Dominican Republic. This suburb has grown rapidly over the past 25 years and now has a population of around 70,000 Catholics! And yet until now it does not have a parish church of its own, and Holy Mass is celebrated in temporary accommodation. Clearly this is not an acceptable situation, and in any case there is not enough space for the congregation.

Haiti: Construction of the parish church of  Notre Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse, Village Créole (Photos: Patronal feast celebration mass on 27th November 2017).

The Catholic faithful are poor, yet they have made great sacrifices in order to be able to purchase a plot of land on which to build a church. Of course they have nowhere near enough to pay for its construction. And so ACN is helping with a contribution of$105,000.

Thank you to help! 


 

Press Release – Episcopacy denounces violence against civilians in South-Sudan

28.02.2017 in ACN Canada, ACN International, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Press Release, South Sudan

South Sudan

Episcopacy denounces violence against civilians

 

United together from February 21 to 23, the Catholics bishops of South Sudan resolutely denounced the violence perpetrated against civilians, as “war crimes” inflicted by both the opposition and the government who are accused of killing, raping, burning, beating, looting, harassing and detaining civilians, even keeping entire villages from harvesting their crops resulting in some regions facing famine.  Aid to the Church in Need has obtained a copy of this declaration; here are some of the highlights.

 

“We, the Catholic Bishops of South Sudan, have frequently written pastoral messages urging change in our nation, but it seems they have had little effect,” they write in their address with a title taken from the prophet Isaiah, also quoted by the evangelists Matthew and Mark, “A Voice Cries in the Wilderness.”

 

“Our country is not at peace. People live in fear. The civil war, which we have frequently described as having no moral justification whatsoever, continues. Despite our calls to all parties, factions and individuals to STOP THE WAR*, nevertheless killing, raping, looting, displacement, attacks on churches and destruction of property continue all over the country,” they write.

Displaced children in Riimenze, South Sudan

 

The bishops also remind us that the people cannot go to do their harvest because they fear the armed forces, whether they are from the government or the opposition. “Some towns have become “ghost towns,” they write.  “While the authorities may claim that they are free to return to their homes, in practice they fear to do so. In places, the destruction has been described to us as “scorched earth,” they tell us. “All of this is a form of ‘collective punishment,’ which is outlawed as a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.”

 

 

Undermining faith in the Church

 

The South Sudan Episcopacy give us an example of these crimes with the story of “Sister Veronica, a doctor who was gunned down by soldiers while driving a clearly-marked ambulance on 16th May 2016. Her killers were arrested, but we have heard no more and we await justice.”

 

Otherwise, the bishops remained “concerned” that “some elements within the government appear to be suspicious of the Church. In some areas, the Church has been able to mediate local peace deals,” but according to the bishops, “easily undermined if government officials are removed and replaced with hardliners who do not welcome Church efforts for peace. Priests, sisters and other personnel have been harassed. Some of the programmes on our radio network have been removed. Churches have been burned down,” say the bishops.

 

On Valentine’s Day, security officers tempted to close their Catholic bookstores.  “They harassed our personnel and confiscated several books.” The ecumenical church leaders’ delegation which visited Pope Francis in Rome and Archbishop Justin Welby in London has been trying,” in vain, they say “to obtain a meeting with President Salva Kiir since December 2016.”

 

The bishops recall that they are not against anyone, “but AGAINST* evil – violence, killing, rape, torture, looting, corruption, arbitrary detention, tribalism, discrimination, oppression – regardless of where they are and who is practising them. We are ready,” they write, “to dialogue with and between the government and the opposition at any time.”

 

They conclude by addressing particularly the faithful while affirming: “We will continue to be “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness”. We wish to give you hope that you are not abandoned and that we are working to resolve the situation at many different levels.

 

Finally, with great joy, we wish to inform you that the Holy Father Pope Francis hopes to visit South Sudan later this year. The Holy Father is deeply concerned about the sufferings of the people of South Sudan.”

 

* Capitalized in the original letter. 

Displaced People in Riimenze, South Sudan

Press Release – Montreal Archbishop Lépine appointed to ACN International Board

19.12.2014 in ACN Canada, ACN International

PRESS RELEASE

 By Robert Lalonde, ACN Canada

Translated by Amanda Bridget Griffin

Montreal, Friday December 19, 2014 – Yesterday, the National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Marie-Claude Lalonde, learned that Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation of Clergy, has appointed Msgr Christian Lépine, the Archbishop of Montreal, to sit on ACN’s International Board of Directors.

‘Msgr Lépine,’ says Marie-Claude Lalonde who rapidly communicated with the Archbishop of Montreal, ‘was happy to be nominated and demonstrated a great deal of enthusiasm when he learned of the new collaboration to come to the aid of poor and persecuted Christians throughout the world.’

© Aid to the Church in Need

© Aid to the Church in Need

Just recently, Msgr Lépine recently partnered with ACN Canada to participate last November in a campaign to provide help to Christians in the Middle East.  He celebrated a Mass at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, and the collection was given in its entirety to ACN.

In a letter he addressed to all the priests, deacons and consecrated persons as well as the faithful laypeople within the Archdiocese of Montreal, Msgr Lépine reminded us, when speaking about 200 million persecuted Christians in the world, ‘there is a responsibility to inform and to find ways of providing support.’ He also added that ACN, ‘who exercises the tripled task of praying, informing and giving, ‘is an organization whose support to support local churches where Christians are persecuted, has existed since 1947.

 

News from Nigeria

21.11.2014 in ACN PRESS, ACN SPECIAL SERIES, Boko Haram, Nigeria, Persecution of Christians

Nigeria

WITH THE FALL OF MUBI…

 
By ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

Boko Haram emerged as a terrorist group in 2009. In the last few months we have seen the aggressive devastation of the Boko Haram activities. Many of our people are forced out of their ancestral homes. Right now, thousands are living in mountain caves; the few who were able to escape have been taken in by friends and relatives in Maiduguri and Yola. Thousands have managed to escape to Cameroon and are living in very difficult conditions lacking food, shelter and medication.

Parents stood by watching their children grow weak and die. A good number of our youth are forcefully conscripted, while the elderly, women and children are converted to Islam. A lot of Nigerians are trapped and are forced to practice strict Sharia law in communities like: Bama, Gwoza, Madagali, Gulak, Shuwa, Michika Uba up on till Mubi. These are the towns on the Federal road linking Maiduguri and Yola in Adamawa state.

All of these captured towns by our estimation are no longer part of the Nigerian entity because no one can go in, but those who would luckily escape have got stories to tell. The terrorists have declared all the captured towns as Islamic Caliphate. The people trapped are forced to accept and practice the strict doctrines the militants are out to propagate.

Mubi is predominantly a Christian community and the second largest commercial nerve in Adamawa state after Yola. It forms a district in the Diocese of Maiduguri and has two strong parish centers: St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and Holy Trinity. It also has two great Chaplaincies: Federal Polytechnic and Adamawa State University.

Wednesday October 29th was a sad day in the whole diocese.  The Boko Haram insurgents over ran the town making over 50,000 inhabitants flee. A good number fled to Cameroon and were trapped for days: Including five priests and two sisters. With the fall of Mubi; of the six districts, three have been captured and occupied by the terrorists. What a life!! We are keeping to the Church’s teachings on the witness of presence.

We have over 100,000 Catholics displaced and some who were trapped are still finding their way out to safe towns.  For now the diocese is saddled with the responsibility of caring for the Internally Displaced persons. This she does across board not minding religious confessions, because we look at our common humanity.  We have more than seven camps in Maiduguri and other displaced brethren are with their relations and friends.

 

With the fall of Mubi the Estimated Figure of Destruction reads:

 

  • of Persons killed: Over 2,500 Catholic Faithful have been killed.
  • Displaced persons: Over 100,000 Catholic faithful are displaced. Most schools in the Northeast cannot reconvene regular activities not only because of the terrorists, but also because such school premises now serve as refugee camps.
  • Displaced Priests: Out of the (46) priests currently working in the diocese (26) are displaced. Many of such Priests are accommodated by Bishop Dami Mamza of Yola Diocese.
  • Displaced Catechists: Over (200) Catechists are displaced.
  • Displaced Rev. Sisters: Over (20) Rev. Sisters are displaced.
  • Abducted women and girls: Over (200).
  • Forceful conversion to Islam: A good number of our faithful have been converted to Islam against their will.
  • Deserted convents: Out of the (5) convents, (4) have been deserted.
  • Churches destroyed: Over (50) churches and rectories have been razed down, a good number were destroyed more than once.
  • Deserted Churches/Chaplaincies: Out of the (40) parish centers / chaplaincies (22) are presently deserted and occupied by the terrorists.
  • Affected Schools: The diocese has over (40) primary and secondary schools, over (30) have been deserted.
  • Compensation: The diocese has not seen any compensation for the destructions of lives and properties from 2006 and 2009 to date.

NIGERIA-2

Borno State has been captured and occupied by Boko Haram, Gomboru Ngalla and Bama, Gwoza, Maffa and Abadam. Askira Uba, Dikwa, and  Marte. Other towns include: Pulka, Banki etc. Maiduguri is completely surrounded by the terrorists.  The one exit out of Maiduguri city is only the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.  The same is true for areas of Adamawa State and Yobe State. These towns are under strict control by the terrorists and no well meaning Nigerian can trespass.