“Many people arrive here weeping, with serious problems, anxious or saddened because they are leaving their country, because they have nothing to eat, or can’t get medicines, and our mission is to comfort them with the light of the Word of God and with prayer.” explained Father Esteban Galvis, parish priest of the church of Our Lady of Lourdes in the suburb of Aguas Calientes, in Ureña, Venezuela, on the border with Colombia. ACN 20180717 73959

Caring for migrants at the border, and at the same time for the people living in poverty in the frontier zone itself, means not only giving material help, despite the limitations, but above all providing pastoral and spiritual support.

(Left): Fr. Esteban Galvis is the parish priest in the town of Aguas Calientes © Aid to the Church in Need.

Sources close to the Catholic Church in Nicaragua are accusing the media in the country of a lack of neutrality. News reports about the grave crisis the country has been going through in recent months should be treated with caution. This applies especially in regard to the stories being posted on social media, many of which are false – for example the fake news spread last week about the murder of Bishop Abelardo Mata of the diocese of Estelí.

ACN 20180730 74523“The war that we are currently living through in our country is also a media war, where the major part of this conflict is being played out”, the same source, which prefers to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, told the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). At the same time they complained that “the lies, the confusion, the obscurantism that we are facing right now are almost as dangerous as the bullets being fired, because they are creating a psychosis of war, a psychosis of fear”.

ACN 20180719 74088 2After years of living as refugees, a Christian family has the courage to make a new beginning and Aid to the Church in Need is helping them. 

“I will never forget what IS did to us.” Musa is a peaceful, good-humoured man. However, the 63-year-old still gets angry about what his family and the Christians in Iraq suffered at the hands of the Islamist extremists. In August 2014, in the middle of the night, he, his wife and their six children were forced to flee Qaraqosh, which had up until that point been the largest Christian city in Iraq. When the relentless jihadist advance pressed ever closer, the family panicked. They left everything behind and sought refuge in Erbil. For the first few days, Musa and his family lived on the streets, sleeping on the ground. The influx of 120 000 refugee Christians in such a short space of time was simply too much for the city to cope with.

An ACN delegation visits Musa and his family at their house: With ACN’s help, Musa’s house has been made habitable again. © Aid to the Church in Need.

“PLEASE DON’T make the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda. It happened under our noses, but no one stopped it. And we know well how that ended.”

These are the words of Bishop William Amove Avenya of the Diocese of Gboko, in Benue State, Nigeria, where Christians form the majority of the population.

Bishop William Amove Avenya from Gboko Diocese in Nigeria during his visit at the Italian National Office of ACN in Rome

Bishop William Amove Avenya from Gboko Diocese in Nigeria during his visit at the Italian National Office of ACN in Rome © Aid to the Church in Need

He is only the latest of the bishops of Nigeria’s Middle Belt to have raised his voice to denounce what is an increasingly worrying phenomenon—the attacks by Islamist Fulani herdsmen on Christians in the region. In recent days there have been new attacks in the area of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, killing more than 100 people.

20100210 023An update from Christians and religious minorities 10 years after the Khandamal Riots.

The Pastoral Centre of Konjamendi (Khandamal) was destroyed during the riots:
Pictured above is the Pastoral Centre's Director - Father Desmond. Diocese Cuttack (Orissa), November 2008 
© Aid to the Church in Need

2008 was a year Catholics in the Indian state of Odisha suffered a terrible suppression at the hands of Hindu fundamentalists intent on extinguishing the presence of Christianity.

Murders, the burning of buildings and homes, the public rape of Christian women; these  atrocities were committed in the state’s Khandamal district to force the faithful of the local Church to convert or leave.

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