Aid to the Church in Need
Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need Australia (ACN) has launched a special campaign for the Church in Africa with the aim of raising $175,000 to support project requests coming from the poor and persecuted Church.
The campaign is in response to distressing news received from throughout the continent:
• In 2018, Africa had the world’s highest number of murdered priests.
• In June in the North-Eastern African country of Eritrea, the government has confiscated Church properties including Catholic hospitals and healthcare centres with patients being forced out of hospital beds.
• In Burkina Faso after yet another attack by Jihadists on a Christian village, Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré warned that "if the world continues to do nothing, the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence in the area and quite possibly in future from the entire country."
• In Nigeria the violence instigated by terrorist organisation Boko Haram is threatening the Christian population. Survivors report they have been targeted whilst celebrating Mass, their homes burnt down and the Church destroyed. Christians have been taken into captivity tortured, starved and have witnessed family members being murdered. Another threat to Christians in Nigeria are the Islamist militant Fulani herdsmen. In February and March 2019, Fulani herdsmen killed more than 150 Christians and destroyed 100 homes.
• In the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the dioceses of Kabinda, Mweka and Kolethe, the Church is making up for the deficiencies of the state and is at the forefront of all the civic activities – social, political, development and so forth.
In response to these reports ACN is helping to strengthen the Faith by supporting priests, seminarians, religious sisters, catechists and backing programmes run by the local Catholic Church. This financial support is essential because in many regions the local community does not have the means to support their own priests, seminarians and sisters. Despite the lack of resources, the Church is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else and vocations are flourishing.
According to ACN's 2018 Activity Report 27.4% of total funds raised were sent to projects supporting the Church in Africa. These projects included: Mass offerings for poor priests, formation of seminarians and priests, transport for pastoral care, education of catechists, distribution of Bibles and religious books, media support for the propagation of the faith, existence help for religious sisters, construction of churches and church buildings and emergency assistance for Christian refugees.
Despite the significant amount of support that ACN has already sent to the Church in Africa in previous years, Bernard Toutounji (National Director of ACN Australia) explains that the need is still great. "Our foundation receives hundreds of requests from bishops and religious superiors across Africa who require our continued support as well as our prayers to ensure the Church is able to continue it's mission despite the hurdles of persecution and poverty."
Therefore in responding to the requests from the religious in Africa Aid to the Church in Need is ensuring the Church can continue to advocate, evangelise and improve the lives of the African people. To support ACN's Campaign for the Church in Africa donations can be made by calling 1800 101 201 (during business hours) or by donating online: www.aidtochurch.org/africa