Thousands of displaced families in northern Iraq urgently in need of a roof over their heads have had their prayers answered – with help from the benefactors of a leading Catholic charity. 

By Maria Lozano

During the recent ACN visit in March 2017 to the diocese of Maiduguri, Bishop Oliver Doeme highlighted the main challenges for his diocese, which include a humanitarian crisis, a lack of food, a lack of education (schools destroyed), but also, what he calls, a spiritual crisis. The majority of people in his diocese have been severely traumatized. The bishop went on to explain that most of those killed by Boko Haram were men, which leaves the diocese with over 5,000 widows and 15,000 orphans to care for. The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has approved an urgent grant of $100,000 to support these victims of Boko Haram. 

By Maria Lozano

Archbishop Amel Nona was the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul when ISIS invaded the city in 2014 forcing the Christian communities to flee. The archbishop found shelter together with his flock in Telkef and in other Christian villages on the Nineveh Plains. This refuge was short-lived: during the night of August 6th, with only 30 minutes warning, Peshmerga troops retreated from the path of the ISIS advance, leaving more than 120,000 Christians to their fate. The night of the exodus, their flight to Erbil and eventually on to other countries around the world, became the "Golgotha" of the 21st century for tens of thousands of Christians. 

By Eva-Maria Kolmann

During a visit to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Archbishop Moses M Costa of Chittagong lamented the fact that the rights of the ethnic and religious minorities are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution of Bangladesh. “The government does not acknowledge their rightful existence and ignores them, so that they have scarcely any possibility of development”, he told ACN. “Moreover they are often discriminated against in the workplace, even in some schools, since they do not speak the national language. When the ethnic minorities suffer, the Church also suffers, for 60% of our Catholic faithful belong to this group.” The Catholic Church is the only institution standing up for the rights and dignity of these peoples and striving to respect and promote their culture.   

By Olivier Labesse

Now that Mosul has been liberated, will the Christians be able to return to their homes soon? According to Msgr. Petros Mouche, Syriac Catholic archbishop of the second largest city in Iraq, it is too early for this, but he emphasised the importance of learning from the events of the past and of restoring peace. Below is the short interview Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) conducted with Archbishop Mouche   

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