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Catholic Charity helping those suffering Christian persecution worldwide                                                

An international Catholic charity dependent on the Holy See, providing pastoral relief to needy and oppressed churches.

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is unique amongst Catholic charities as it provides pastoral assistance to the Church wherever she is poor, persecuted or threatened. Areas of help include the training of seminarians and catechists, the printing and distribution of religious literature and supporting poor priests overseas with Mass offerings. Church construction, broadcasting radio programmes, providing vehicles and aiding refugees are also given priority. Providing Catholic news on Christian persecution taking place around the world today is another important aspect of our work. Please support us with your prayers and donations.                                                 
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Please help Christians being Persecuted for their Faith


Click HERE to watch a short video about the plight of the Iraqi Christians.

Archbishop Amel Nona

Imagine having your house daubed with a Cross or a big 'C' for Christian, knowing that your house was about to be targeted and taken. This is what happened in Mosul - and the Arabic letter 'N' equating to Nazarene was daubed on Christian properties by Islamist terrorists of the Islamic State. Now a city which had up to 60,000 Christians eleven years ago has no Christians - they have had to flee, after being told to convert or face the sword. It is estimated that 100,000 Christians have since fled Mosul and the surrounding villages of the Nineveh Plains to seek refuge in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq (Ankawa, Dohuk & Erbil). For the first time in 1,600 years no Mass or any Christian service has been celebrated in Mosul since the IS militants forced the Christians to flee. Churches have been detonated and set ablaze, converted to Mosques and all crosses torn down - with ancient tombs desecrated and destroyed.

Thanks to the generosity of the benefactors of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), these uprooted Iraqi Christians now have access to food, lodging and even schooling. These families have at last been able to leave their makeshift shelters, in camps, public buildings, and especially schools, where they were crowded together, sometimes 20 people to a room.

Fr Halemba, the head of the ACN projects section for this region, explains: "This ancient Christian community, which dates back to biblical times, is in danger of disappearing for ever. They have already suffered so much. Now we have a unique opportunity to help them with what they need to get through these difficult times" The Chaldean archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil has thanked all the benefactors of ACN.

Archbishop Nona, who was among the 500,000 people forced to flee in June 2014 from the forces of ISIS, was in charge of the bishops' emergency committee for coordinating the aid relief effort. He wrote at the time: "I am personally grateful to ACN - you have given us new hope". The archbishop, who is now the Eparch of the Chaldean Diocese in Sydney, has called on all people to pray for Iraq. "Please pray for the safety of our people and that no one else will be murdered by the terrorists. And we must also pray for those who are persecuting us and for an end to the evil that seems so strong at this moment".

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need has in place an ongoing campaign to support to the work of the Church for the Christians of Iraq and Syria, helping tens of thousands of displaced people fleeing persecution from IS militants.

A donation of whatever you can afford will make a difference to our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering persecution in Iraq and Syria.
Please click on this link to make your donation and simply write in the optional Comments box when prompted - "Help for Iraq
and Syria".

You can also call the ACN office on 02 9679-1929 and give your donation over the phone or send it via the post.


"Persecuted and Forgotten?" 2015 Edition - ACN Report on Christians oppressed for their faith

CHRISTIANITY looks set to disappear from key parts of the Middle East, according to the latest report compiled the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) which highlights a worsening cycle of persecution. Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-15,concludes that if the exodus of faithful from Iraq continues at existing levels, the faithful could all but disappear within five years and that a faster rate of attrition is noted in Syria whose faithful have reportedly plummeted from 1.25 million in 2011 to as few as 500,000 today. The report states that the loss of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere represents a blow to community relations as the faithful have acted as bridge-builders in increasingly fragmented societies.

Assessing 20 countries where persecution is severe, ACN's Persecuted and Forgotten? report describes what it calls a "religiously motivated ethnic cleansing" of Christians by Islamist terror groups especially in Iraq and Syria but also in parts of Africa. Examining countries of core concern in the Middle East and elsewhere such as China, Egypt, Eritrea, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, and Vietnam, Persecuted and Forgotten? draws on eye-witness reports and testimonies. The report concludes that since 2013 the situation for Christians has worsened in 15 of the 19 core countries under review. In 10 countries - more than half - the persecution is ranked "extreme" - up four from the last edition of Persecuted and Forgotten? report which covered 2011-13.

According to the information presented in Persecuted and Forgotten? the influence of fundamentalist Islamist groups has increased markedly in the past two-and-a-half years. They represent possibly the greatest threat to religious freedom in the world today. Their goal is the elimination, or at the very least the subjugation, of Christians. In communist countries to the efforts have increased to exert control over the Christian population. However, in these countries Christians tend to be persecuted above all on account of their contacts with dissidents and with the West, and not so much on account of their faith alone. In North Korea there is no official recognition of any religious activities, while those that are tolerated are strictly controlled. China continues to insist on asserting its authority over all Christian groups, especially over those not registered with the State.

Ranking Islamism as the greatest threat, the 2015 Persecuted and Forgotten? report also highlights growing problems caused by other extremist religious groups - militant forms of Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism - with attacks increasing in number and ferocity. Totalitarian regimes, notably China, have put increasing pressure on the Church, according to the report, with severe threats facing Christians in Eritrea and Vietnam. The report notes that in many cases Christians are persecuted not so much because of their faith but because of their perceived links with the West and a view associating the faithful with colonialism.

In the report's foreword, Archbishop Jeanbart from Syria writes: "We are confronting one of the most important challenges of our 2,000 year history. Despite our problems here in the Middle East, we are doing everything we can to help those who lack food, clothes, or other essentials. By God's grace, and with the continuing help of organisations including Aid to the Church in Need, we have been able to respond to the urgent needs of our people."

Religious liberty as a fundamental human right is often neglected by world public opinion, politicians and the media. And yet religious liberty is one of the most vital preconditions for democracy. You will find no better summary about your fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith. Please support and pray for them.

To read the whole report click HERE (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report)

To read the Executive Summary of the report click HERE

Persecution mapped out. To view a world map of where persecution is worsening for Christians click HERE

To view a video about the report click HERE


Celebrate the Year of Mercy by supporting priests, religious sisters and brothers wherever the Church is poor, persecuted or threatened

Through their hands, God’s hand caresses the earth ... Priests and religious are above all the apostles of Divine Mercy - and not merely during the extraordinary Year of Mercy that Pope Francis has proclaimed for the whole Church. They feed the hungry, comfort the grieving, endure injustice. They promote reconciliation and absolve the repentant from their sins. Day by day, through the works of spiritual and corporal mercy, they show people the Face of the Merciful God. 'They' are the priests and religious of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Year of Mercy, which is intended to be "a time of grace for the Church and to help render the witness of the faithful stronger and more effective."It is surely also an occasion to reflect with great gratitude on the witness of those who proclaim this Mercy with their whole lives.

Throughout the world wherever the Church is poor, persecuted or threatened, there are tens of thousands of priests and religious daily living the 'Yes' they have already given to God. It is vital that the indispensable work of priests and religious in Christ's Holy Catholic Church and throughout the missions worldwide continues.

The average grant ACN gives to support consecrated religious is between $200 - $500 but whatever you can afford will be enormously appreciated. ACN forwards the donations directly to the religious superiors in charge of the religious communities and congregations.

A complimentary 'Year of Mercy’ rosary designed by the Vatican Rosary makers will be sent out to all those who donate $15.00 or more to help this cause.

To send your online donation please click on this link. You can also call the ACN office on 02 9679-1929 and give your donation over the phone.

The meaning of the rosary design: Every confessor must accept the faithful as the father in the parable of the prodigal son. Confessors are called to embrace the repentant son who comes home and to express the joy of having him back. Chosen to be the Mother of God, Mary from the outset was prepared by the love of God to be the Ark of the Covenant between God and man. She treasured divine mercy in her heart in perfect harmony with her Son Jesus. The red and white beads represent the rays of light of the Divine Mercy.


Help Religious Sisters - the unsung heroines in the Church!

They smile, they heal, they teach, they comfort. Around the globe Catholic religious sisters quietly perform their dedicated and heroic service without remuneration and barely even noticed by the wider world. But in order to help others, they themselves also need to be helped, for although they are ministering angels to so many, they themselves still need their daily bread and a roof over their heads.

Each year the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) supports over 9,000 religious sisters in every corner of the globe. Many religious congregations turn to the charity for help, not least for the formation of their precious new vocations. While many congregations in the Western world have few or no new vocations and even seem to be dying out, in other parts of the world the religious communities are filled with young and smiling faces.

It is vital that the indispensable work of religious sisters in Christ's Holy Catholic Church and throughout the missions worldwide continues. Religious sisters are the unsung heroines in the Church. ACN is therefore proud to help them in their efforts to make the world a better place. The average grant ACN gives to support a religious sister or novice is $300 - but whatever you can afford will be enormously appreciated. ACN forwards the donations directly to the religious superiors in charge of the religious communities and congregations.

Anyone able to help this cause will be sent a complimentary Vatican Rosary blessed by Pope Francis. The Papal rosary features the crucifix from the crozier of Pope John Paul II and a centre medal of Pope Francis and his coat of arms.

To send your online donation please click on this link and select the donation you would like to give. If you would like to receive the complimentary Papal rosary please simply write in the optional Comments box when prompted "For Religious Sisters and Rosary". You can also call the ACN office on 02 9679-1929 and give your donation over the phone.


christian persecutionReligious Freedom in the World - Report 2014

International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need's Religious Freedom in the World 2014 Report, compiled by journalists, academics and commentators, reveals worrying concerns for people of faith in 116 of the world's 196 countries.

The report - looking at all religious groups and covering events from October 2012 to June 2014 - concludes that where the situation regarding religious liberty has changed, it has almost always changed for the worse. In the 196 countries analysed, deteriorating conditions are noted in 55 countries (or 28%). Only six of the 196 countries - Iran, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Qatar, Zimbabwe and Taiwan - have been classified as improved and yet, even of those, four remain categorised as experiencing "high" or "medium" persecution.

The report, which follows on from ACN's biennial Persecuted and Forgotten? research on persecuted Christians, is the most comprehensive analysis on religious freedom by a Catholic organisation. The Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014 examines the degree to which nation states uphold the principle of religious freedom - as enshrined primarily in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - and the impact of destabilising extremist groups within society.

John Pontifex, London-based Editor-in-Chief of the report, said: "In the period under review, global religious freedom entered a period of serious decline and the report confirms media perceptions of a rising tide of persecution aimed at marginalised religious communities. The report we have produced indicates that many of those in authority - governments and religious leaders - have continually failed to stand up for religious freedom and hence it has become an orphaned right. Serial human rights abuses - from the threat of massacres in the Middle East and discrimination in the workplace in Western countries - are the direct result of religious freedom violations. As a Catholic organisation, it is our duty not simply to stand up for Christians suffering religious freedom violations, but for people of all faiths."

The document, which includes a foreword by Paul Bhatti, brother of Shahbaz, murdered Pakistan Federal Minister for Minorities, also includes 10 case studies describing serious religious freedom abuses and examples of good practice in which different faith communities have worked towards cooperation and understanding. The report notes other trends, including:

  • The rise of religious intolerance and "aggressive atheism" in Western Europe.
  • Large population displacements due to religious persecution, especially in the Middle East.
  • A growing "religious illiteracy" among Western policy makes, leading to misunderstandings in foreign policy areas.
  • A worrying growth of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe

A 32-page executive summary of the full report, categorises 20 countries as having a "high" degree of religious intolerance or active persecution. Of these, 14 experience religious persecution linked to extremist Islam. These are Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Maldives, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In the remaining six countries, religious persecution is mainly linked to authoritarian regimes. These are Burma (Myanmar), China, Eritrea, North Korea, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

The executive summary of the report, includes a map identifying countries where persecution is worst. The summary concludes with a table which ranks more than 100 countries on their religious freedom record.

The full report - complete with continent analysis - is available only on the web.

To read the whole report click HERE


To read the executive summary of the report click HERE.
(You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the executive summary and map)

To view a world map identifying where persecution is worst click HERE


Egypt: Kidnapped brides

It is a phenomenon that is scarcely known in the West: the kidnapping and rape of Christian women and girls and their forced conversion to Islam. "Before 2011 it affected perhaps six or seven girls in the whole of Egypt. But now the numbers have grown into the thousands," emphasised Said Fayez, a Coptic lawyer and human rights activist, during an interview with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Very young girls are a particular target for radical Muslims. Such as the 14-year-old Nadia Makram. In 2011 she was kidnapped during a church service. Since then, her family have had no contact with her anymore. Although the family know who did it, the police do not help them. "They even warned us not to pursue the matter any further. I must accept that my daughter has been kidnapped," says Nadia's mother, filled with pain. (Pictured is Nadia's mother holding a photo of her kidnapped daughter)

Kidnapping, forced conversion, female circumcision, social discrimination: Christian women in Egypt face many problems. But the Catholic Church is working on their behalf.

Please click here to view the short film. For more video clips please go to our Video page.


The help ACN provides for religious sisters around the world

For many people, women religious are the visible face of the Catholic Church. Around the world they are responsible for a whole range of vital pastoral and social initiatives. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the service they render. Frequently they work, without remuneration, in places where no one else wishes to go or help. They belong to many different religious communities and congregations - charitable, contemplative and missionary. Around the world these women care, quite literally, for everyone and everything - for children and adults, for orphans, the sick and the dying, for those who are lost and for those who seek, for the victims, the violated, the traumatised.

Despite the numerous challenges and difficult conditions, the number of callings in Africa has grown by 28% and in Asia by 18% over the last years. This extraordinary growth of professed sisters has given rise to increasing requests from novitiates world-wide to ACN in support of formation and professional training.

ACN over the last ten years, has provided over $16.6 million for contemplative sisters, $71 million to active sisters and $3 million for the formation of novices.

Please click here to view the short film. For more video clips please go to our Video page.


Catholic News: This week's featured project 30 May 2016

Senegal: A church for the shrine of Our Lady in Savoigne


Work begins on the new church in the parish of Savoigne. Parishioners young and old join in to lend a hand © Aid to the Church in Need

  Senegal is an overwhelmingly Muslim country with a population of around 12 million souls. Roughly 90% of the population of this West African country are followers of Islam, while Christians make up somewhere around 5%, most of these being Catholics.
  The parish of Savoigne in the northwest of the country, in the region close to the frontier with Mauritania, is the only Catholic parish within a radius of 100 km. It has a total of some 375 Catholics, yet at the same time it is a place that draws in many other believers from further afield, since this is also the church where an 18th-century statue of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, is kept and revered. Today this image is drawing increasing numbers of pilgrims from all over the diocese, and even from as far afield as the capital, Dakar. It was brought here from Italy, his home country, by the parish priest, Father Emmanuel Zanaboni. Many women come here, especially, seeking help from the Mother of God - many of them because they have been unable to have children - something that in Africa is seen as a source of great shame and as a stain on the lives of these women, who suffer immeasurably as a result.
  From year to year the number of pilgrims has grown, and the number of answered prayers is also growing steadily. Father Zanaboni, who belongs to the congregation of the Merciful Brothers of St John of God and who has been working as a missionary in Africa now since 1982, reports: "The women are welcomed; they are listened to, they are supported - and they return home again quite transformed."
  But unfortunately, the parish does not even have a "proper" church, but only a multipurpose hall, built in the 1970s, where Holy Mass is also celebrated. The building is not even suitable for the needs of the parish itself, since the acoustics are very poor and it is hard to even follow the Mass. And when he gives his homily, Father Zanaboni has to stand in the middle of the hall and shout in order even to be heard properly. On top of this, during the rainy season, the water trickles through the roof and the celebration of the liturgy is sometimes disturbed when people in the congregation try to avoid the dripping water and find a dry place to stand. But now, with the additional influx of the pilgrims, the building is simply too small. "The local people generously give up their places to the pilgrims", Father Zanaboni tells us.
  And so there is an urgent need for a proper church. The local parishioners have already tried many initiatives to raise the necessary funds. For example, they launched a campaign whereby everyone would try to contribute two bags of cement; and they have also tried other fundraising events, for example on the anniversary of the consecration of the church and on other occasions, in order to raise cash. But the people are poor and even with the best will in the world, they will never be able to raise the necessary funds by their own unaided efforts. So Father Emmanuel Zanaboni has now turned to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for help.The charity has promised a contribution of $46,000.
  The vital work of Catholic charities like Aid to the Church In Need provide a lifeline to the Church wherever she is poor, persecuted or threatened. Please help our work by donating online or send your donation to Aid to the Church in Need, PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153. Ph: (02) 9679-1929

e-mail: info@aidtochurch.org Web: www.aidtochurch.org

Click here for past weeks' featured projects


Catholic News: Reports for you to read about the work of Aid to the Church in Need

Please note that you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (AAR) to view these reports. You can download AAR free of charge from the net by going to the Adobe website. To open a report simple click on the cover of the report you are interested in.
Child Bible Report Child Bible Report
Child Bible Report

ACN is unique from other Catholic Charities as it offers pastoral assistance and Catholic news to the Church wherever she is poor or suffering under Christian persecution.


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Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153 ABN: 62 418 911 594
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