Education has traditionally always been in the hands of the Catholic Church. Of the 580 girls enrolled at St Joseph’s Secondary school, in the Diocese of Makeni, only 50 are catholic, yet they all pray the “Pater Noster” together © Aid to the Church in Need

By Mónica Zorita

The Catholic charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) recently undertook its first official fact-finding visit to Sierra Leone in order to better focus its aid programmes in the country, which until now have centred above all on addressing the emergency situations arising from the bloody Civil War and more recently the Ebola virus outbreak. Now, however, the charity wants to concentrate on spiritual formation and encouraging new religious vocations in the Church, given that the country is beginning to enter a more stable period, after going through one of the most dramatic decades in its history. 

Marcela Szymanski presenting to the European parliament ACN’s recent 2015-2017 edition of “Persecuted and Forgotten?”, a biennial report on Christian persecution
© European Union 2017

Aid to the Church in Need invited to present its recently published report "Persecuted and Forgotten?" and comment on possible solutions

By Marcela Szymanski

As “Red Wednesday” was being observed in many countries around the world commemorating the sacrifice of the martyrs of their faith, the European Parliament, on the 22nd November, held a Public Hearing in which for the first time it specifically sought to gather information about the global persecution of Christians. The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) was invited to provide factual background information as contained in its recent 2015-2017 edition of “Persecuted and Forgotten?”, a biennial report on Christian persecution. 

Brussels, Friday 24 November 2017.
Centre: His Beatitude Ignatius Younan III, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholics worldwide addressed a group of NGOs and EU staff during his visit to Brussels. 
To his right: Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Msgr Antoine Chahda and to his left: Brother Olivier Poquillon, secretary general of COMECE © Aid to the Church in Need

“Please be our voice to your policy-makers and media!” A call from the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholics to European NGOs

By Marcela Szymanski

His Beatitude Ignatius Younan III, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholics worldwide, addressed a group of 30 representatives of European NGOs gathered to hear about the situation of Christians in Syria and Iraq after the departure of Daesh (IS). 

His Beatitude Ignatius Younan III, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholics worldwide, addressed a group of 30 representatives of European NGOs gathered to hear about the situation of Christians in Syria and Iraq after the departure of Daesh (IS).  

Internally displaced people still affected by the long civil war that ravaged the country for 25 years © Aid to the Church in Need

Sri Lanka: “Fundamentalists see Christianity as a threat.” 

By Esther Gaitan-Fuertes 

In May 2009 the end of a 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka was officially declared. Separatist Tamil insurgents, who are mostly Hindus, were defeated by the island’s government, which represents the Sinhalese and mostly Buddhist majority. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demanded greater political autonomy in the eastern and northern provinces, where the Tamil population is concentrated. In an interview with Esther Gaitan-Fuertes from the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Emmanuel of the Trincomalee diocese in eastern Sri Lanka, lamented the Sri-Lankan government’s lack of interest in promoting reconciliation after decades of civil conflict. He also expressed his concern about the fundamentalists’ hostility towards Christians and other minorities. Bishop Noel Emmanuel has visited the international offices of the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in Germany. 

By John Newton

The persecution of Christians is worse than at any time in history – but it is being largely ignored by the UN and the international community, according to a report launched on Thursday, 12th Oct).  

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