This year, the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), is celebrating its 70th anniversary as well as the 100th anniversary of the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima, to whom the charity has been consecrated.  

“It is night time in Africa. I am flying through the night from Rome to Africa. The flight takes six hours.” This comment is dated April 1965 and recorded in the book Where God Weeps by its author, Fr Werenfried van Straaten, the founder of the Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). In it he records the moments leading up to his arrival in the capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This first visit of his to the African continent lasted just nine days during which, in addition to visiting Kinshasa, he also went to Kivu, Isiro and Kisangani. On his return he described the stages of his journey as “the stations on the Way of the Cross”. Following that first visit, there were to be five more journeys to Africa between September 1968 and the end of the 1980s, during which the man known to many as the Bacon Priest was able to witness first-hand the sufferings of the continent and the poverty of the Church there. But at the same time he was able to appreciate the work that needed to be done by the Church in Africa and the aid that ACN could give on that journey. 

By Murcadha O Flaherty and John Newton

VITAL help for Syrian mothers and children forced to flee violent extremism is one of nearly 100 new projects announced this month by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). 

By Murcadha O'Flaherty and John Newton

ARCHBISHOP Bashar Warda of Erbil has unveiled plans to provide a future for Iraq’s displaced Christians – despite fresh reports showing the extent of the destruction of their homes in the Nineveh Plains.  

By Maria Lozano

“Hope is coming back to the Nineveh Plains” reports the Middle East section head of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) after returning from a fact-finding mission from the Iraqi Christian villages liberated last November from ISIS. Fr Andrzej Halemba, stated that, “despite the many urgent questions that need clarification, people are willing to return to their villages”. When asked about the nature of these urgent questions Fr. Halemba referred to the concerns of illegal property appropriations of the abandoned homes, an investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the destruction of Christian houses and for those Christian families who contemplate going home, the ongoing security fears of violence from isolated militant and fundamentalists who do not wish to see the Christians return.

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