By Marta Petrosillo (in Rome)
A BRAND-NEW, special edition Lamborghini Huracan sports car presented to Pope Francis will be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to charity.
Part of the funds raised from the Sothebyâ€™s auction will go to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need to help with its work rebuilding Christian settlements on the Nineveh Plains destroyed by Daesh (ISIS).
The project helps displaced Christians, who have been dependent on emergency aid since 2014, to go back to their original towns and villages.
â€œWe have thanked the Holy Father and assured him that we will use his gift well â€“ by bringing thousands more Christians back to Nineveh,â€ said Alfredo Mantovano and Alessandro Monteduro, president and director of ACN (Italy), in a statement.
Senior staff from the Italian office of ACN were present this morning (Wednesday, 15th November) for the delivery of the sleek, white car with yellow-gold markings to Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
It is not the first time that Pope Francis has supported persecuted Christians in Iraq through ACN.
In 2016, he donated â‚¬100,000 (Â£90,000) to the Saint Joseph Hospital in Erbil, Kurdish northern Iraq, where thousands of refugees are being treated.
The Popeâ€™s words of encouragement for the ACN plan for the reconstruction of the Christian villages of the Nineveh Plains were also sent in September through Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Cardinal Parolin took part in ACNâ€™s international conference in Rome which looked at the plans to help Iraqâ€™s Christians.
In their statement, Mantovano and Monteduro said: â€œDuring todayâ€™s meeting we showed Pope Francis the first achievements of our project and the photos of the first families to come home.
â€œWe also want to stress, together with the Holy Father, that our plan is the result of a significant process of reconciliation and forgiveness, and the result of an agreement between local Churches, whose priests and religious collaborate actively, and work together to practically assist Iraqâ€™s Christians.â€
ACN also thanked the sports-car maker Lamborghini.
The president and director of ACN (Italy) stated: â€œThe gift to the Pope by the car manufacturer is a good example of how big companies can actually help Christians who suffer.â€
Aid to the Church in Need is a Pontifical Foundation directly under the Holy See. As a Catholic charity, ACN supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in need through information, prayer, and action.
Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope St John Paul II named â€œAn outstanding Apostle of Charityâ€, the organisation is now at work in 140 countries throughout the world.
Undertaking thousands of projects every year, the charity provides emergency support for people experiencing persecution, transport for clergy and lay Church workers, Childâ€™s Bibles, media and evangelisation projects, churches, Mass stipends and other support for priests and nuns and training for seminarians.
Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACNâ€™s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow and another office based in Lancaster that covers the North-West.
Please always acknowledge Aid to the Church in Need as the source when using our material.
For more information, contact Senior Press Officer Dr John Newton on 020 8661 5167 or ACN Press and Digital Media Officer Murcadha O Flaherty on 020 8661 5175.
Head of Press & Information
Aid to the Church in Need | UK