|During 2016 we were able to support priests in need with over 1.44 million Mass Offerings. They were shared out as follows:
| Asia/Middle East
Last year through the generosity of our benefactors we were able to help priests in need in over 102 countries with over 1.44 million Mass Offerings. Every 22 seconds somewhere in the world a priest began to celebrate Holy Mass for the intentions of one of our donors. The Church is often not able to cover the basic needs of its priests. Last year ACN supported over 47,000 priests with Mass offerings.
Thus worldwide, we were able to support one in every sixth priest with Mass offerings and every day Holy Mass was celebrated 3,934 times for the intentions of our benefactors.
Securing the livelihood of priests working in difficult conditions
For priests in many poor countries, Mass offerings are a vital aid to survival. These priests receive no salary, and the faithful themselves have nothing. Often, Mass Intentions are the only financial resources available to these shepherds of souls, enabling them also to help the needy who knock on their door. For in many countries the people place their entire hopes in their priests and look to them for help in every kind of need, both material and spiritual. For the faithful they are both father and shepherd and are expected not only to comfort their souls but also to help them with food, clothing, medicines, provide their children with schooling and their young people with a vocational training. All the people look with eyes of hope to the priest.
An example of our help
INDIA: The 23 Jesuit Fathers who minister pastorally to the tea plantation workers in Assam received 900 Mass offerings from our benefactors last year. With this help were able to continue their precious apostolate among these disadvantaged people. The state of Assam in Northeast India is the largest single tea growing area in the world. Millions of people live and labour on the plantations for a mere pittance. Most can neither read nor write and they are frequently exploited. The parents work from early morning till late in the evening on the plantations. They barely have time to care for their children and since they themselves have had no formal schooling, they do not send their children to school either.
The Jesuit Fathers have made it their mission to give these children a better future. "I have been working here for 18 years now. From the very first day I witnessed the misery in which the people live. The key to a better future lies in a better school education. We are trying to persuade the parents to send their children to school", says Father Xavier Lakra. But in fact many of the adults themselves are also learning to read and write thanks to the hard work and commitment of the Jesuits. "Until recently they couldn‘t even write their own names and had to sign documents with their fingerprint - as a result they were often cheated and exploited. By now many of them have learned to read and write and as a result, they are no longer so helplessly exposed to exploitation."
But above all it is pastoral support that the people need. They love the Church and have a deep sense of piety. But they need to develop the feeling that as children of God they have a true innate dignity, for they often feel themselves to be worthless since they are on the very bottom rung of society. Hence, conveying the love of God to them is a vital task.