Justice and freedom at last

Christians across Pakistan are rejoicing after a court yesterday (Wednesday, 29th January) acquitted 40 men jailed for alleged involvement in the lynching of two people in a district outside Lahore.

The 40 individuals, almost all of them Christians, shouted “Alleluia, Praise God” as the anti-terrorism court in Lahore ordered their release after nearly five years in custody.

More than 40 others, on bail after being accused of lesser offences that took place at about the same time in Youhanabad district, were also acquitted.

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Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf (Mani), Director of NCJP, ‘National (Catholic) Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakista.
Photographer: Ursula Walach
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

Archbishop Samir Nassar: “Syria – “living an anticipated Lenten fast”

by Maria Lozano

According to Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus, the continuity of the humanitarian aid projects within the country is in danger

The economic situation in Syria is growing worse. “The present crisis, which is different from what we experienced during the days of the war, has compelled the people to live a sort of anticipated Lenten fast. Simply managing to put food on the table has become a daily nightmare.” So says Archbishop Samir Nassar in a message to the headquarters of the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International).

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Generosity of the Youth

by Laura Cain

When an Aid to the Church in Need staff member recently processed a donation and read the message attached to the donation they were touched enough by the young benefactor’s thoughtfulness and selflessness to share the donor's story with the whole office.

Four seminarians abducted – Nigeria risks becoming a failed state

The Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation ACN International has learned with dismay of the abduction of four young seminarians in Kaduna, Nigeria.

According to local sources, the incident actually occurred on 8 January 2020 in the Good Shepherd seminary in the city of Kaduna in northern Nigeria. Shortly after 10.30 p.m. armed intruders broke through the fence surrounding the living quarters of the seminarians and forced their way into the student hostel, shooting sporadically. They stole some of the students’ laptops and phones and then kidnapped four of the seminarians.

Seminarians

Kidnapped seminarians, Pius Kanwai (aged 19), Peter Umenukor, (23), Stephen Amos (23) and Michael Nnadi (18). Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

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Seminarians at the seminary of Kaduna, Nigeria. This photograph was taken in 2017.
Photographer Johannes Klausa. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

Nigeria: ‘darkness has thrived, but it has never won’ - a spiritual reflection on the events

by Tobore Ovuorie

The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Dec. 26, 2019 released a video of its fighters beheading 10 blindfolded Christian hostages and shooting an eleventh on Christmas Day. The victims’ names have not been released, but an earlier ISWAP video revealed that they’d been taken from the African states of Borno and Yobe. The terror perpetrated by ISWAP and Boko Haram has deeply scared Nigerians, particularly the country’s Christians, who suffered a further shock at the news of the Dec. 26 of the beheading of a bridal party in Gwoza, in the state of Borno.

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Aid to the Church in Need spoke about the killings with Father Panachy Longinus Ogbede, the catholic pastor of the Church of the Visitation in Lagos, Nigeria. Father Panachy said:

“We must never accept violence. It is not a part of our culture. Traditional Nigerians are known to have discussions; our forefathers taught us that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves everyone blind and toothless. There will always be better and more productive ways to express our grievances.

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