A Message from National Director Mr Bernard Toutounji

This message was published with Mirror 4 - 2020 - it is published online (for those who elect to receive The Mirror newsletter via email and not a printed copy in the post).

 

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Dear friend in Christ,

I don't know about you, but the happenings of the past few months have reminded me that I must be on guard against complacency in my life. For so long things have just plodded along in our world (with the ‘usual' tragedies, injustices and sins) but in an instant, each of our lives have been turned upside-down.

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Quickly we were reminded (or taught) that we are not fully in control; we can be forced to move where we do not wish to go, for good or for bad. Our jobs, our schools, our recreation, our churches, our very lives, can be gone in a moment.

And where is God in all this? Where is God amidst the fear, the loss, the death?  God is there, as he always has been. Of course God has not changed, He never changes. There are times though in all our lives, when for a host of reasons, we individually become more aware of Him. I've never been through a pandemic prior to this one but my observation is that these events have the ability to make a greater number of people take stock of their personal direction and vulnerability. We can insulate ourselves in our work, our pleasures, our homes, our goals; these are not bad in and of themselves; but in the end, there is only you and God. He looks upon us with love and He invites us to walk ever more closely with Him.

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Here at ACN I can tell you, in all honesty, it has been, and continues to be, a time of some fearfulness. Our mission, as you very well know, is to support the suffering Church, but who would have imagined a situation where both the ‘suffering' Church and the ‘developed' Church were plagued at the same time. We have certainly seen people (understandably) pull back from their usual offerings and as a result, we have declined or paused a number of requests for help. However, in the last months, I have also been overwhelmed at the loyal and generous heart of the benefactors of ACN Australia.

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Allow me then to thank each of you for walking with us in these unique and strange times. Thank you to those who have made a financial offering for the Church in need. Thank you to those who have arranged a Mass as part of our bouquet of Masses. (In fact, at the time of writing more than 1500 Masses have been arranged as part of this bouquet and it is still growing. You can add to the bouquet by visiting (www.aidtochurch.org/coronavirus). Thank you to those who have been praying the prayer we sent in the last mailing. I can assure you that our staff still gather at 12 pm each day (by video conference as we are working from home) to pray for you. Let us all continue to remember one another in prayer. We can recall the words of Our Lord to Simon Peter to, ‘strengthen your brothers' (Luke 22:32). Many of those around us have been deeply hit by coronavirus: physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. May we be the support which others can lean on in their need. 

I hope you enjoy reading this latest mailing. This edition of the Mirror focuses on pastoral transport and evangelisation projects around the world but as expected it has coronavirus weaved throughout. In addition, we have included an insert specifically about the effect of the virus on the suffering Church. You will also see there is a gift offered of a small but powerful book by our founder, Fr Werenfried, entitled Feasts and Seasons. The book is made up of father's spiritual reflections, and as it is now out-of-print I encourage you to make an offering and ask for one or two. 

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Thank you in advance for any offering you can make in the coming weeks to help keep the faith alive. We are relying on your generosity more than ever.

Yours in Christ,

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Bernard Toutounji
National Director
ACN Australia.

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