By John Newton and Sebastian Moll ON the 20th anniversary of his episcopal ordination, a Syrian archbishop will offer Mass for all supporters of a Catholic charity which has provided aid since the start of the country’s civil war.
This Sunday (20th December), Syriac-Catholic Archbishop Antoine Chahda of Aleppo will be saying Mass for all the benefactors of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) at the city’s Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral.
The Holy Qurbono, as Mass is called in the Syriac-Catholic tradition, will take place at 4.30pm GMT (6.30pm local time) and will be broadcast live on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/720152402255774/). All the heads of the Churches in Aleppo have been invited.
In a message to ACN’s benefactors, Archbishop Chahda said: “We, here in Aleppo, are very grateful for all that you are doing for us, our Christian community, and all those who are going through difficult moments in their lives and need your help.
“Your support helps families to stay in the country.”
Since the beginning of the war in 2011, ACN has supported 326 projects in Aleppo including 53 in 2020.
Projects in the city include restoring its Maronite Cathedral, providing milk for children, scholarship aid for Christian students, food, rent and other basic essentials for elderly and other vulnerable people.
ACN has not only given support to the country’s Catholic Churches, but also to other Christian Churches in the region, such as the Syriac Orthodox.
Archbishop Chahda added: “We ask you to continue supporting us, at this particularly difficult time, as Aleppo continues to suffer.”
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 ACN Head of Press & Information John Pontifex on 020 8661 5161 or Senior Press Officer Dr John Newton on 020 8661 5167.