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Aid to the Church in Need Tag

 

Project of the week: Feeding Iraqi refugees

03.02.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adaptation Mario Bard, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Emergency Aid, Iraq, Journey with ACN, Lebanon, Projets pastorale, Refugees, SUBSISTENCE, Syria, Voyager avec l’AED

Lebanon

Help to feed Iraqi refugees 

Right now, Lebanon is facing huge challenges . This small country of just 4.5 million has had to find space for no fewer than 1.1 million refugees. In fact, this number includes only those refugees officially registered with international agencies. The real figure is almost certainly much higher than this.

Every day more refugees are arriving in Lebanon, from Syria and Iraq. More often than not, their dreams of a better life here are quickly devastated for while they have at least saved their lives, they very soon find themselves confronted with immense difficulties with simply finding ways to live and  to survive.  They face astronomical rents for example, even for the smallest and most miserable living accommodations. There is no work. Medical treatment is expensive and indeed virtually unaffordable for most refugees. If refugees attempt to move elsewhere within Lebanon, they can be arrested and imprisoned as illegal immigrants. Many have had false expectations of what awaited them abroad.

Lebanon: exemple of pastoral projects to the refugees children of Syria and Iraq.

Lebanon: An example of pastoral projects to the refugees children of Syria and Iraq.

In the capital city of Beirut, the Chaldean Catholic eparchy is striving to take care of  Iraqi families, most of who have fled here from Mosul and the Plain of Niniveh from the advancing ISIS fighters. The eparchy provides these people with basic necessities, helps them look for work, and also ministers to them pastorally.

For example,  children can prepare for their First Holy Communion and there are other catechetical classes for children and young people, plus pastoral and social services for women and many other services besides. Last year ACN gave a total of 43,500 CAD towards the cost of this pastoral and human support for the Iraqi refugees. For example, helping with the supply of catechetical materials, including audiovisual equipment .

Chaldean Bishop Michel Kassarji of Beirut has thanked ACN for all the help he has already received, and in advance,for the help he still about to receive. “We pray to Christ our Lord, the Good Samaritan, to pour out his graces on you in rich measure and bless you, and to reward you, and all those who have contributed to this wonderful work of charity, a hundredfold for the good you have done.”

At the same time he has asked us to help his community with additional aid for food and other necessities.

We have promised him 14,500 CAD.

Holy communion for the refugee children of Iraq and Syria, at St.Joseph Parish.

Holy communion for the refugee children of Iraq and Syria, at St.Joseph Parish.


 

ACN Press – Abbey targeted by extremists in Jerusalem

21.01.2016 in Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Oliver Maksan, Jerusalem, Press Release, press@acn-intl.org

Jerusalem

“Praying for those who hate us”

The Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem has been targeted by vandals again. Last Saturday night, unknown persons defaced the walls and doors of the German-speaking Benedictine monastery on the outer edges of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Also targeted were nearby establishments of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Church. The graffiti, which had been written in Hebrew and in several different handwriting styles, proclaimed: “Christians go to hell,”; “Death to heathen Christians, the heretical enemies of Israel,” “Revenge for Israelis” or “Erased be His name.”

Holy Land/Jerusalem, 19 Jan. 2016. The Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem has once again been targeted by vandals. On Saturday night, unknown persons defaced the walls and doors of the German-speaking Benedictine monastery on the outer edges of the Old City of Jerusalem. Also targeted were nearby establishments of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic church. The graffiti, which had been written in Hebrew and in several different handwriting styles, proclaimed: “Christians go to hell”, “Death to heathen Christians, the heretical enemies of Israel”, “Revenge for Israelis” or “Erased be His name”. A sword dripping with blood was also drawn next to a Star of David. Only this very small file quality available

© Latin Patriarchate of Jerusale

A sword dripping with blood was also drawn next to a Star of David.

The community of monks reacted with dismay to the incidents. “We are praying for those who hate us,” Father Nikodemus Schnabel, sub-prior of the monastery, said to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). “If we are being attacked because we are Christians, then we want to react as Christians.” When asked, Father Nikodemus was not able to explain why the extremists had targeted the Abbey of the Dormition again. However, he emphasized that the Jewish community had reacted with commiseration.

 

Holy Land/Jerusalem, 19 Jan. 2016. The Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem has once again been targeted by vandals. On Saturday night, unknown persons defaced the walls and doors of the German-speaking Benedictine monastery on the outer edges of the Old City of Jerusalem. Also targeted were nearby establishments of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic church. The graffiti, which had been written in Hebrew and in several different handwriting styles, proclaimed: “Christians go to hell”, “Death to heathen Christians, the heretical enemies of Israel”, “Revenge for Israelis” or “Erased be His name”. A sword dripping with blood was also drawn next to a Star of David. Only this very small file quality available

© Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem          Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem  – The graffiti, which had been written in Hebrew and in several different handwriting styles, proclaimed: “Christians go to hell”, “Death to heathen Christians, the heretical enemies of Israel”, “Revenge for Israelis” or “Erased be His name”.

“We are thankful for all of our friends in Israel who stand by us in solidarity,” said Father Nikodemus. “We as monks of the Abbey of the Dormition will not cease praying for reconciliation, justice and peace – as well as for the perpetrators of last night, that the hatred may disappear from their hearts.” But in the meantime, he has also called for the Israeli authorities to act.  “We ask that the security forces take this criminal act seriously and finally take steps to improve the security situation on Mount Zion, something which has been promised to us since the summer of 2013.”

The police had already approved the installation of cameras in the summer of 2013, after parked cars belonging to the monastery were heavily damaged and vitriolic graffiti was discovered. However, Father Nikodemus said that nothing has happened to date. Over the last few years the Benedictine community has repeatedly been targeted by what are suspected to be Jewish extremists.

Shortly after Pope Francis visited in May of 2014, an attempt was made to set fire to the abbey church in Jerusalem. Up to this point, the worst incident was an arson attack on Tabgha Priory belonging to the monastic community on the Sea of Galilee, in June of 2015. The priory sustained damages totaling more than 2.32 million dollars. Two people suffered from smoke poisoning. The perpetrators, Jewish extremists, have since been arrested. It remains unclear how much of the costs for the reconstruction of the destroyed parts of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes the state of Israel will undertake to pay.

For years now, Christian and Muslim churches and establishments have been under attack by what are presumably Jewish extremists. The perpetrators are suspected to be primarily extremist Jews who support the Settlement movement. Hardly any arrests or convictions have yet to be made. Recently, in December, the cemetery of the Salesian monastery of Beit Gemal in Israel was desecrated by unknown persons who overturned and damaged crosses.

 

 

*  Cover photo:  Father Nikodemus Schnabel OSB is subprior of the German speaking Benedictine monastery Dormitio Mariae in Jerusalem. The abbey has been attacked repeatedly by presumably Jewish extremists.

 

 

By Oliver Maksan, ACN International, press@acn-intl.org

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada, ag@acn-aed-ca.org

 


 

Press release : ACN is developing 20 more emergency aid programs for Syria

15.01.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN United Kingdom, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Emergency Aid, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, John Pontifex, Journey with ACN, Press Release, press@acn-intl.org, Syria

Syria

Starved into submission

January 15, 2016 –  Food has become “the most deadly weapon of war” in Syria, according to a leading Catholic charity’s Middle East projects coordinator, who says both government and rebel forces are blocking humanitarian aid to force entire communities on the brink of starvation to submit to their rule. 

Father Andrzej Halemba, from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), says that many groups are preventing food aid from getting through in an attempt to weaken the resistance of opposition groups. Father Halemba, who is in constant communication with Church leaders in Syria and who visited the country three times last year, said the crisis was putting extra pressure on ACN and other organizations to increase emergency help to areas open to aid. It also confirmed what the media around the world reported this week via the troubling images of starving children – numerous groups had mounted blockades and were letting no one through, no convoys transporting food, in order to weaken the resistance of the opposition.  Civilians are paying the price.

Fr Andrezj Halemba: .“We wish to fulfil 100 percent of the requests we receive however it is not always possible to achieve everything we hope to do. Every item of help is appreciated so much. People have told us of their joy on receiving our help. They were crying with joy, saying now we can survive the winter.”

Fr Andrezj Halemba: .“We wish to fulfil 100 percent of the requests we receive however it is not always possible to achieve everything we hope to do. Every item of help is appreciated so much. People have told us of their joy on receiving our help. They were crying with joy, saying now we can survive the winter.”

Such regions have become a magnet for people fleeing aid-blockaded areas. “Forces on both sides – Government and rebels alike – are preventing humanitarian aid from getting through in an attempt to subdue the people,” said ACN‘s Head of the Middle East section, adding that rebels had taken humanitarian aid and sold it to the highest bidder to generate funds. Referring to Madaya, the town north-east of Damascus where people have reportedly starved to death, he said: “There are quite a few places like Madaya where people are in desperate need but where help is not getting through.”

Amid reports that up to 4 million people in Syria are living in areas cut off from aid, Father Halemba cited statistics showing that, since the violence began nearly five years ago, 280,000 people had been killed in conflict but that 350,000 had died from lack of medicine and other essential supplies. ACN was building up emergency aid programs in centres such as the capital of Damascus, which is receiving thousands of people fleeing Madaya.

Since March 2011 when the conflict first began, ACN has provided  $15,051 million dollars  in aid for Christians and others in the country. Of that figure, nearly 60 percent – $8.99 million  – was provided last year alone.

Renew prayers and increase programs for Syria

Last month, the charity put into action 19 relief programs for Syria. Father Halemba stated that the charity is developing 20 more emergency aid programs for Syria to be rolled out over the coming months.  ACN is working with bishops in Damascus, Tartus, Aleppo and Homs as well as Jesuits and religious communities providing food, medicine, anoraks and shoes in regions such as Aleppo, north-east Syria, as well as Homs, further south and surrounding Marmarita and the Valley of the Christians. He stressed how the crisis was compounded by a loss of power supplies in key areas, saying that Aleppo had been without electricity since mid-November, a problem made worse by below zero night-time temperatures.

Saying that last year, 15,000 items of aid were given to families across the country, Father Halemba added: “Many of the families have received numerous packages of aid from us. This year, we are seeking to increase our aid to meet the growing needs of the people.“We wish to fulfil 100 percent of the requests we receive however it is not always possible to achieve everything we hope to do. Every item of help is appreciated so much. People have told us of their joy on receiving our help. They were crying with joy, saying now we can survive the winter.”

Already 5 years of conflict in Syria.

Already 5 years of conflict in Syria.

Father Halemba spoke to us of the urgent need to provide aid to villages near the north-eastern city of Hassake newly liberated from Islamist forces. At present, many Assyrian Christians exiled from the villages are unable to return because of the lack of basic supplies.

The priest also urged everyone to renew prayers for Syria, especially for the 79 Christians kidnapped in the Assyrian villages near Hassake and held by Daesh at its stronghold of Raqqa in the north of the country. Reports say the Islamists have requested ransoms of up to  $46,545 per person.

Fr Halemba went on to highlight the suffering of Christians unable to pay extortionate Islamic jizya tax demanded in areas controlled by ISIS (Daesh) and other militant groups. He said that Christians were forced to pay jizya of up to 87,000 Syrian pounds per year ( $525 CAN  – according to the official exchange rate) but that people could not afford it in a country where since 2010 1 kilo of sugar has risen from 5 Syrian pounds ($2.90) to 5,000 Syrian pounds ($30.22 CAN).

Responding to the build-up of international military action in Syria, Father Halemba said: “A Pandora’s Box has been opened up and nobody is willing to close the lid. Instead of talking about waging war, what is needed is for people to sit down and talk about ways to bring peace. That is what the people really need right now.”

 

 

 

 

By John Pontifex, ACN UK, press@acn-intl.org

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada, ag@acn-aed-ca.org 

#GivingTuesdayCA

30.11.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin

#GivingTuesday

This coming Tuesday is a day dedicated to GIVING.

 In this spirit, we invite you to GIVE of your time.

In keeping with our key words 

– Praying, Informing, Giving – 

We ask you to PRAY for the persecuted, and for their persecutors;

To STAY INFORMED on the situation of our global

poor and persecuted Church by visiting our website;

and to SHARE this information with everyone around you.

Finally, give.  Give Aid, donate to the Church in Need.

 

donate

#givingtuesday2

A Pastoral Work Strengthening Project supported by the benefactors of ACN – underway in Awasa-Lat Ethiopia

Thank you for believing that together, we can make a better world!

 

 

Special Report – Kenya: a visit to Lodwar

26.11.2015 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, By Teresa Engländer, Kenya

Lodwar 6Kenya

Today we arrive in Lodwar,

where the dry season poses a real problem for its inhabitants.

On October 8th our ACN delegation visited Lodwar, the largest town in northwestern Kenya with a population of 48,316. According to the Insider’s guide to Kenya, Lodwar’s history began around 1933 when a trader named Shah Mohamed, arrived on the banks of the Turkwell River. The roads were inaccessible so he brought donkeys. He eventually built a permanent trading center in Lodwar including a gas station. The district commissioner’s office was built, followed by a small medical clinic and a government prison. During the 1960s than missionaries built schools in and around the town.

The town had developed a reputation as an isolated outpost removed from the rest of Kenya, but in recent years, Lodwar has expanded and gained commercial and economic prominence. It is housing local and governmental facilities, including Turkana’s biggest health facility and the main referral hospital.

Lodwar covers a very poor and dry region without fixed roads and has a hot desert climate with very high temperatures and very little rainfall throughout the year. Though it is at the epicenter of the world’s largest underground aquifers, its residents experience intermittent water shortages leading to deaths of their cattle. The people here are predominantly nomadic. Everyone is waiting for rain – they haven’t seen any since the last rainfall in April this year.

A warm thank you for the benefactors of ACN comes from the Cloistered Augustinian Recollect Sisters
A warm thank you for the benefactors of ACN comes from the Cloistered Augustinian Recollect Sisters

Aid is urgently needed for these people. “We face many problems here due to the natural drought and the electricity cuts,” tells Dominic Kimengich, the Bishop of this huge diocese. Only about 35 percent of all citizens in Lowdar have access to electricity in their homes. It takes hours to get to the farthest outstations.

Our ACN delegation visited the Catholic school run by the Sisters of Mary, the convent of the Augustine Sisters,  (helped by ACN with a host baking machine) and the new Radio Akicha stationlodwar 10

The Bishop hopes, that we will also help them with the formation of future priests and construction work at the pastoral center.

One of ACN’s successful  projects visited by the delegation is the set up of Catholic Radio Akicha in the Northwestern diocese of Lodwar. Many people here live in small villages, miles away from, and isolated from one another. Thanks to the new radio station, which broadcasts their own programs including prayers, interviews and news, the people in the area are now connected to the local universal Catholic Church.

Warm thanks  to ACN’s friends and benefactors comes from the Cloistered Augustinian Recollect Sisters also in the very poor and large diocese of Lodwar in Northern Kenya. These five Sisters – all of whom come from Mexico – have served the Catholic Church in Lodwar for several years now. “Thank you so much dear benefactors of ACN,” they said, “for the new host backing machine,” they say with a big smile on their face. Besides preparing hosts, they sew and stitch to support themselves.

Lodwar 1

 

 

 

 

 

With thanks to Teresa Engländer for text and photos, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin ACN Canada

Special Report – Kenya: The situation, the people, the Church and its challenges

25.11.2015 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Teresa Engländer, Kenya

Kenya

The situation, the people, the Catholic Church and its challenges

Recently, an ACN delegation visited the dioceses Mombasa, Malindi, Lodwar, Kitui, Isiolo, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Nairobi. During our trip we got to know, that the biggest challenges for the Kenyan Catholic Church are the growing Muslim fundamentalist influence on the society – especially on the coast and in the Northern part of the country – and the fight against poverty and missing infrastructures. 

The situation in Mombasa

Mombasa counts as the second-largest city in Kenya, with an estimated population of 1.3 million inhabitants. Located on the east coast of Kenya, Mombasa’s location on the Indian Ocean made it a historical trading center. Prior to Mombasa becoming the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate in the 19th century, there were many conflicts between the Portuguese and Sultans.  The city has a cosmopolitan population, with the Swahili people and Mijikenda predominant. Other communities include the Akamba and Taita Bantus as well as a significant population of Luo and Luhya peoples from Western Kenya. The major religions practiced in the city are Islam, Christianity and Hinduism.

The first conflict between Muslims and Christians began in 1889. And ever since, there have been tensions between Muslims and Christians with peace not easy to achieve. Catholics in Mombasa make up a minority of 11%. The Islamic leaders try to catch young people in the way that they pay for education but they ask them to become Muslim. Christians in the area remain shocked by the last massacre in 2007.  People had gone from house to house and asking : “Are you Christian?” killing 60 Christians along the way.

Archbishop Martin K. Musonde of the diocese Mombasa in Kenya wants to strengthen the Christians faith in his diocese. "The life of Catholics in Kenya is catechism. There are places, where a priest comes only three times the month", he points out. Around 500 catechists serve the church, where there is no regular priest. Catholics in Mombasa compose a minority of 11%. The Islamic leaders try to catch young people in the way that the pay the formation but ask them to become Muslim.

Archbishop Martin K. Musonde of the diocese Mombasa in Kenya wants to strengthen the Christians faith in his diocese. 

The priority here is  interreligious dialogue. The diocese, led by

who became the Archbishop of Mombasa in January 2015, implemented a program for young people, both Muslims and Christians, who visit mosques and churches and communicate together about their respective faiths. The archbishop wishes to send his clergy and some lay people to take couses on Islam  “to understand the Islam and to strengthen the interreligious dialogue.”

Another big challenge in the diocese is the great distance between several parishes. It takes 13 hours to reach the farthest parish by car!  Archbishop  Musonde  wants to strengthen the Christian faith in his diocese. “There are places, where a priest comes only three times a year,” he points out. Around 500 catechists serve the church, where there is no regular priest.

The diocese is looking forward to the Pope’s visit this week  (The youth have organized an interfaith peace caravan from Mombasa to Nairobi, where representatives from various denominations and religious backgrounds will travel together in a bus under the theme: “Together we can Work for Peace to come to meet with the Pope in Nairobi”. 3,000 people from many different religions backgrounds are expected to attend.

ACN Support 

"I entered the seminary to become a priest and left it to become a brother", says Brother John from the Order of the brothers of St. Joseph in the Archdiocese of Mombasa in Kenya. Thanks to the scholarship of ACN he could follow his studies and helping today with the administration of projects in the Archdiocese, where Catholics lives in a Muslim environment. The last massacre from extremist Muslims against Christians was in 2007. Since then there are still strong tensions between both religions. the Catholic church implemented peace building programmes. "It is a challenge to secure peace but there is hope", he tells the delegation of ACN, who visited Mombasa in October 2015.

Brother John

“I entered the seminary to become a priest and left it to become a brother”, says Brother John from the Brothers of St. Joseph in the Archdiocese of Mombasa in Kenya. Thanks to the scholarship of ACN he could follow his studies and help today with the administration of projects in the Archdiocese, where Catholics live in a Muslim environment.

The last massacre from extremist Muslims against Christians was in 2007. Since then there are still strong tensions between both religions. The Catholic Church implemented peace building programs. “It’s a challenge to secure peace but there is hope,” says Brother John.

The ACN delegation travelling through Kenya has visited a primary school in the Archdiocese of Mombasa where 1,200 children study. This school “shows that interreligious education is possible. Half of the children are Muslim, the other half Christian. The children play and study together in peace.”

The ACN delegation travelling through Kenya has visited a primary school in the Archdiocese of Mombasa where 1,200 children study. This school "shows that interreligious education is possible. Half of the children are Muslim, the other half Christian. The children play and study together in peace."

Stay with us tomorrow! ACN  will travel to Lodwar where the dry climate poses significant problems.

 

With thanks to Teresa Engländer for text and photos, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin,  ACN Canada

Special Report – Kenya

25.11.2015 in Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Teresa Engländer

Kenya

Original-Logo-Pope-Francis1“Stand strong in faith…

do not be afraid! “

Kenyans are happy. They are waiting with impatience the coming of Pope Francis who is visiting the African continent for the very first time. A delegation from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) visited Kenya, the first country he will be visiting before travelling to Uganda and later the Central African Republic. This week, we will share with you some of the fruits of these encounters, an overview of this country faced with many challenges which include inter-religious dialogue, corruption and terrorism.

As Kenyans prepare to receive the Holy Father into the country, Waumini News Today interviewed some of the faithful on what issues they would like him to address. Below are some of the appeals, wishes and encouragement to Pope Francis.

Felix: “The family is under threat, kindly promote a strong family, quoting Catholic Men Association’s slogan “good family, good Church, good Church, good society.”

Pascal:  “Deliver a message of peace, encourage religious tolerance and mutual acceptance.”

There are an estimated 7.5 million baptized Catholics in Kenya representing 33% of the population.  Over 80% of the Kenyan population is Christian.

Roselyn: “Pray for the families and the youth to be able to understand and practice the social teachings of the Catholic Church.”

David: “Remember the young families who are struggling to understand themselves amidst all sorts of pressure, some of them feel disconnected and neglected with no place in the Church movements.”

Linus:  “Address the ills in the Church and governments and help us understand “The Year of Mercy.” We request that you visit us more often and that the Beatification of the Servant of God Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga be conducted in Kenya.”

Florence: “Receive greetings and much appreciation for accepting to visit Kenya. When you come, kindly address the issues of corruption, tribalism, terrorism and encourage our political leaders to preach peace and unity instead of divisive politics. Pray for the leaders to be peaceful and geared towards development of the Nation.”

Anthony: Pray for vocations, consecrated men and women to remain true to their calling.

These messages from Catholics in Kenya show the high expectations and hopes they have that  Pope Francis’ visit to the country will be a unifying factor to their nation which has experienced terror attacks, corruption, negative ethnicity and divisive politics in the recent past. They have expressed their wish for the strengthening of Catholic families.

In preparation for his visit, Catholic youth organized daily gatherings to pray the Rosary – a gift from the Kenyan youth to the Holy Father for his many intentions and especially for peace in the world. According to Fr. Charles Odira, the National Coordinator of the Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate, the exercise began on Thursday October 15th and ended on  November 15th. “All the rosaries prayed by the youth from across the country will be aggregated and a plaque made which will be presented to Pope Francis during his meeting with the youth at Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi,” he said.

Among the Holy Father’s scheduled activities is a meeting with Kenyan youth from across the country which will include youth who are members of other religious backgrounds, and not necessarily Catholics.

 

With thanks to Teresa Engländer for text and photos, ACN International

Adapted by ACN Canada


 

Stay with us all week as we continue our overview of the challenges facing the Church in Kenya with regard to its pastoral work.

 

 

 

New ACN Office Opens in South Korea

19.11.2015 in ACN International, ACN KOREA, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Oliver Maksan

South Korea

“It is important to pray for peace and reconciliation in Korea”

Aid to the Church in Need President Cardinal Mauro Piacenza opened the new office of Aid to the Church in Need in Seoul – and visited the demarcation line between South and North Korea

Following his visit to South Korea, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza talked about how impressed he had been by the vitality of the local Catholic church. “The people came in droves to the services I had the honour of celebrating. And their sympathy for the situation of the persecuted Christians across the world was remarkably high,” the president of the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) said. Cardinal Piacenza travelled to Seoul last week to celebrate the opening of the South Korean office of the pastoral charity. The Melkite archbishop of Homs in Syria, Jean Abdo Arbach, also accepted the invitation to talk about what was currently happening in his church.

Le cardinal Piacenza, président de l'AED, en visite au nouveau bureau national en Corée du Sud. Ici, lors du symposium sur l'Église de Syrie organisé pour marquer l'événement.

Visit of ACN delegation with Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, President of Aid to the Church in Need, in South Korea, where he addresses the audience at the first ACN Symposium for Syria in Seoul, South Korea.

Visite de la délégation de l'AED dans la zone démilitarisée entre les deux Corées. “I was particularly moved by the visit to the intra-Korean border. We were able to look the North Korean soldiers in the eyes; that was how close we were. We were only separated by a sheet of glass. I noticed how suspicious they were about our visit. However, I also saw curiosity in their eyes. This is certainly a positive thing,” the curial cardinal said following the visit to the demarcation line between North and South Korea. “The South Korean soldiers, some of them Catholic, were very welcoming. The same can be said for the Buddhist general, who reacted to our prayer for peace with sympathy.” Cardinal Piacenza recalled a recent incident at the intra-Korean border, during which two South Korean soldiers lost their legs. “All along the border there was evidence that there really is a war going on there. We saw how bleak the towns along the imposed border are. It was therefore very important to pray for peace and reconciliation in this wonderful country as well as for the healing of the inner and outer wounds of its people.”

 

The ACN delegation visits the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas

The executive president of Aid to the Church in Need, Baron Johannes Heereman, was also impressed by what he saw at the opening ceremony of the Seoul office. “In South Korea we saw the great power of prayer of the faithful. This will strengthen us in our mission to pray for the suffering church.” Baron Heereman added that South Korea is currently transitioning from a receiving to a giving country. “Aid to the Church in Need acts as an intermediary between churches that are free and those that are oppressed or even persecuted. We are happy that South Korea has joined the international family of Aid to the Church in Need,” Baron Heereman said.

Aid to the Church in Need maintains offices in 22 countries around the world. The international pastoral charity supports pastoral projects of the oppressed and persecuted church in more than 130 countries.

 

 

ACN Press – South Sudan

11.11.2015 in ACN International, ACN PRESS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Oliver Maksan, Press Release, South Sudan, Sudan

                

South-Sudan

“As we speak, people are dying”

Church deplores humanitarian disaster in South Sudan as tribal conflicts displace thousands of people

Montreal/Mundri, Wednesday November 11, 2015 – Catholic, Protestant and Islamic leaders of South Sudan claim that the people of the Mundri region who had fled heavy fighting are now forced to live in devastating conditions. These religious leaders made the claim in a dramatic appeal for help to the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Thousands of human lives are threatened

Soudan du Sud, 2014 à aujourd'hui: la situation de crise se poursuit. / South Sudan, 2014 to today: the crisis situation continues.

 South Sudan, 2014 to today: the crisis situation continues.

“As we speak people are already dying, and in particular children and elderly people. During the past two months more than 80,000 people had been forced to live in the bush and the jungle in the area. Children and women are those most affected. They will be exposed to a variety of epidemics and to starvation if they don’t get help soon,” the religious leaders explained after visiting the crisis zone. Together, they called for an immediate cessation of all military operations in the Mundri region in order to ensure internal refugees might receive humanitarian supplies.

 

Father David Kulandai Samy of the of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate  (MMI),works in the affected region and also reached out to ACN for help. “Our parish people who have moved into bushes are facing untold misery; particularly children suffer without food, water and medical assistance. Community people’s standing crops have been destroyed and their assets were looted, including cattle,” said the priest, whose Community has served the people of the area since 2012 through pastoral and humanitarian work. He himself has only just managed to escape the fighting at the risk of his life. “With the Grace of God we had a narrow escape from gunfire and we thank God for having survived till today,” Father David said.

 

Victime des violences tribales/Victim of the tribal's violences

A victim of the tribal  violence

Some background

Tribal conflict in the region broke out in September of this year. According to Father David, nine warriors of the Dinka tribe were killed in September. Government troops then moved into the area and opened fire on members of the Moru tribe who in turn attacked members of the Dinka tribe resulting in ethnic unrest and numerous Catholic families forced to flee their homes. They had found refuge in church facilities, however they had also soon been drawn into the conflict by the army. Father David said that combat helicopters had been deployed. Many people had been killed and thousands had fled into the bush.

 

Rebuilding the scattered Catholic families

Father David has now asked Aid to the Church in Need to pray for the people. “We want to return as soon as the situation gets back to normal and work towards rebuilding the scattered Catholic families and other tribal communities. We would request you to pray for us and our community people, who are undergoing incalculable misery and hardship.”

Déjà en 2014, l'AED soutenait les personnes réfugiés et déplacés au Soudan du Sud / In 2014 already, ACN was supporting the refugees and the displaced.

ACN  supporting the refugees and the displaced – photo in 2014

ACN has been helping the Church in Sudan and South Sudan for many decades. In 2014 the pastoral charity supported projects in both countries to the tune of over 1.4 million dollars (CAN). In addition to its pastoral work ACN also provides emergency aid to assist the local Church in its work with refugees and others people affected by war.

 

 

 

 

Syria: A war “unjust, barbaric and destructive”

25.09.2015 in ACN Canada, ACN United Kingdom, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Syria, Syrie

Syria:

A war “unjust, barbaric and destructive”

 The Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop of Aleppo in Syria wrote these words last September 16. Msgr. Jean-Clément Jeanbart was then celebrating the 20th anniversary of his ordination as the bishop of this “artistic and intellectual” city, whose citizens are today in great misery. ACN-20140721-11551_ca0f0

“Today, at the very moment that I am writing these lines, bombs are raining down on the residential neighborhoods of the city.”

 

According to him, the people of the city “now find themselves in a miserable state, after four years of this unjust, barbaric and destructive war. They are without work, without resources, without security, without water, without electricity, deprived of all hoped-for pity and help from Western Christians expected in vain.”

 

In this letter, he also reminds us that the diocese already existed in 325, and that its bishop was at the famous Council of Nicaea. “In both the ancient and recent history of the Middle East this active and prosperous community was a center of Christian radiance in the region.”

 

“ Lighten the load” of the population

Aleppo, 09.06.2014 The population is fetching water at the well of the Cathedral. The Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clement Jeanbart states: “The electricity is bad. Water is also very bad. We have some wells. We have dug three wells at three different churches. At the Cathedral we have reopened a well that dates back some 100 years and we are distributing water to the population. We have to do what we can to help”. Used as Illustration for the Internet Project SYRIA / ALEP-ARM 14/00005 (PrID: 1403720)

Aleppo, June 2014
The population is fetching water at the well of the Cathedral.

Already in 2014, the situation was extremely difficult. The Church had re-opened a hundred year old well in the cathedral’s courtyard.

“ These last three years I had to forget that I was 70 years-old and to run to wherever I could in over to lighten the load that is weighing down my beloved people,” he stated.

 

He denounced the “latest scourge” that hit Syrian Christians, “the exodus of Christians, which is a form of deportation, condemning our faithful to a humiliating exile and our 200 year-old Church to a deadly drying up.”

 

He finishes the letter, writing: “On this anniversary of my episcopate, I fervently wish that you join me in asking the Lord to protect the faithful He is given into my care, so that this Church that is two millennia old, of which I am in charge, can continue its prophetic presence in this beloved country. They are waging war on us, but we want to make peace. They seek to destroy; we seek to build. They are trying to exile us; we are fighting to stay put. In brief, all that we await is peace and we want to Build to Stay.”

Read the complete letter by following
this link: Letter from Aleppo