By Eva-Maria Kolman

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need mourns for Cardinal Miroslav Vlk, who passed away on Saturday 18th March at the age of 84. “Cardinal Vlk was a beacon of faith in a country tested by communism, a country in which today, the ties that link people to the faith are the weakest in all of Europe,” said Fr Martin Barta, the charity’s International Ecclesiastical Assistant. According to Fr Barta, the former archbishop of Prague, who had to work for years as a window cleaner after his ordination to the priesthood due to the anticlerical reprisals of the communist government, only carrying out his work as a priest in secret, “decisively influenced many people by faithfully bearing priestly witness under the most difficult conditions” and became an “iconic figure of the faith in a society that had to rediscover the path to God” after the political turnaround.  

By Murcadha O Flaherty and John Newton

RELIGIOUS Sisters are transforming communities across Latin America by travelling to isolated parishes that have not seen a priest for years. Mother Lorena told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the impact of the work being done by the Misioneras de Jesús Verbo y Víctima (Missionaries of Jesus Word and Victim). When she started working in the parish of Virgen del Carmelo de Villa Ygatimy, Paraguay three years ago some of its chapels had not seen a priest since 2013. 

By John Newton

The leader of Nigeria’s Catholics has made an impassioned plea for peace and dialogue as the country faces violence, crippling economic crisis, and the threat of famine in the north-east, where militants continue to carry out attacks. 

By Maria Lozano

“BEFORE THE WAR, Syria was widely respected in the Middle East. Education and healthcare were free. Homs was developing very well; people were earning a reasonable salary, food was not expensive and many people could afford to buy a house or a car. I was studying to become a dentist.”  

Aid to the Church in Need’s Head of Projects in Asia, Veronique Vogel, travelled to India from October to November in 2016. She visited the Indian Catholic Church in Orissa (now known as Odisha). 

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