By Clare Creegan
YOUNG Christians from Jordan to Georgia are to receive vital support to enable them to connect with others who share their faith and values in the latest series of grants announced by the UK office of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
In the next round of aid payments, being rolled out next month, ACN (UK) grants will include the formation of seminarians in the Middle East and Africa, support for Sisters in Asia and Latin America and financial support for a Christian Summer Camp for 800 children from Armenia, Georgia and Russia.
In Georgia, ACN is supporting the Catholic Church’s annual two-week summer camp for hundreds of young people, many of whom come from poor families who would not otherwise be able to offer their children a holiday.
In many communities, the summer camps are the local Church’s only chance to carry out faith-building programmes to help the children grow in their faith as very often in such countries, young people go to secular schools.
Speaking to ACN, camp organiser Bishop Giuseppe Pasotto, Apostolic Administrator of the Caucasus, expressed his gratitude for the aid.
He said: “I only want to thank you and remind you that your financial participation becomes a pastoral participation for the life of this local Church, and a way to advance the kingdom of God.”
The charity is also supporting a summer camp for Coptic Christian children in Egypt and financial aid for five Catholic Youth summer camps in Jordan.
In a country where only 2.2 percent of the population are Christian, ACN recognises the importance of encouraging young people in Jordan to continue practising their faith in an effort to prevent Christianity disappearing from the Middle East.
In Pakistan, ACN is providing a car for St Francis Xavier Cathedral Parish in Hyderabad, Sindh Province, to allow priests, Sisters and catechists to minister to parishioners more easily.
Seminarians studying to become priests in the poorest regions of Africa will receive a substantial aid package to help support their theological formation.
The charity is providing more than £25,000 for scholarships to enable at least 77 students at the Catholic University of Rwanda to continue their studies with the department of catechesis for 2016.
ACN is also providing vital transport for parishes in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of ACN UK, thanked those who contributed towards the work of the charity, saying: “Thanks to the great kindness of friends and benefactors, ACN is able to reach out across the world with the healing and merciful love of God to sustain the faithful and offer the hope of Christ.
“This is a vital mission in today’s world where there is so much suffering, violence and uncertainty.”
There are further grants for Church projects in Lebanon, Ukraine, Kenya, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
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 “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, 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, Child’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). ACN’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 John Pontifex, ACN UK Head of Press & Information, 020 8661 5161 or John Newton, Press Officer on 020 8661 5167.