ACN International sets up new emergency aid plan for Syrian Christians.

Over $830,000 is being allocated for the support of more than 20,000 families in Syria affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The continuing emergency facing Christians in Syria has been further exacerbated by the crisis, and in response the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) has put into action a new aid programme for the support of Syrian families now in grave need. The emergency plan will benefit a total of 20,550 families of various denominations – Catholic, Orthodox and Protestants. The emergency measures taken in response to the coronavirus – for example, the closing of shops and schools and the stopping of travel between the different towns – have plunged many into grave crisis and strained the financial capacities of the local churches in Syria to the very limit.

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Syria, Homs. Emergency help for needy families with health basket and food support in Homs and supporting to protect themselves against the Coronavirus. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

With creativity and trust in God against the crisis

ACN supports Church work during the Coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 is not only a medical, social and economic problem but also a pastoral one. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the international pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need has received many statements of solidarity from project partners all over the world, but also learned of growing hardships and the heroic efforts of priests and religious in the battle against Coronavirus. In response, the aid organisation has initiated a special programme to promote these efforts. Tobias Lehner spoke with Regina Lynch, project director at ACN, about current relief initiatives and the efforts of the Church during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Regina Lynch, Project Director at Aid to the Church in Need.
Photographer: Ilona Budzbon.

Christian girl, 14, abducted during lockdown

Maira forced to wed kidnapper and renounce her faith

by John Pontifex.

A mother in Pakistan has spoken of her distress after a man struck while the country was in lockdown, abducting the woman’s 14-year-old daughter, forcing her to marry him and abandon her Christian faith.

100th anniversary of the birth of Pope Saint John Paul II – ACN remains faithful to his legacy to this day.

Pope John Paul II made history during his lifetime and became one of the giants of the 20th century – both in the history of the Church and of the wider world. In his early years he was a media star, and in the subsequent and final years a veritable martyr, when it became clear that he would defend the truth without compromise, yet with love. Likewise unwavering, profoundly committed and historic in their dimensions were the projects he promoted and which on so many occasions the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) has made its own.

“Pope John Paul II is a friend of our charity”, wrote Father Werenfried van Straaten, the founder of ACN. “We know him as a man of great courage, unwavering in his faith and with a filial love for the Virgin Mary. God willing, under his guidance may the resurrection of the Lord become a resurrection of the Church.” The 18th of May this year will mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. Today ACN continues to commend its activities to the intercession of Saint John Paul II.

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Pope John Paul II. with Fr. Werenfried, June 1985
Photo credit: LIDO SANTONI (Italy/Rome).

Ricardo’s dream - The church in Havana, dedicated to Saint John Paul II, is now in its final phase

As Ricardo Mínguez speaks, his eyes start to fill with tears as he recalls the hardships and sufferings they have been through in the past. They have been waiting for over 25 years for this, and many of those who embarked on this venture “have left the country or are already no longer with us”, says this elderly Cuban gentleman, marked by the years and the wrinkles on his face that speak of a lifetime filled with sufferings. Ricardo is speaking about the Catholic community in the suburb of Antonio Guiteras, a community of around one hundred individuals that was first formed in 1993 in the back yard of a private home in this suburb on the outskirts of Havana, one of the most rapidly growing suburbs since the Cuban revolution and which today numbers around 30,000 inhabitants.

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