By Eva-Maria Kolmann

More than 12,000 private homes in twelve Christian villages on the Nineveh plains were damaged by “Islamic State”. A total of 669 houses were completely destroyed. These were the findings of a study initiated by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. According to the study, the costs for rebuilding will far exceed $(US)200 million dollars.  

By John Pontifex

IRAQ’S oldest Christian community is at immediate risk of a sudden slide towards extinction unless multi-agency action is taken to safeguard their future – the co-ordinator of aid for displaced faithful forced from their ancestral homes by jihadi terror group Daesh (ISIS) told parliamentarians.  

By Joop Koopman

The bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo have issued an urgent warning that rising violence and political unrest are threatening the nation with “unravelling and chaos.” The bishops expressed sorrow for “thousands” of people who have lost their lives in recent months, including many minors enlisted by various militias. The bishops also expressed concern that the crisis might trigger a famine and even the breaking up of the nation. 

By Eva-Maria Kolman

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need mourns for Cardinal Miroslav Vlk, who passed away on Saturday 18th March at the age of 84. “Cardinal Vlk was a beacon of faith in a country tested by communism, a country in which today, the ties that link people to the faith are the weakest in all of Europe,” said Fr Martin Barta, the charity’s International Ecclesiastical Assistant. According to Fr Barta, the former archbishop of Prague, who had to work for years as a window cleaner after his ordination to the priesthood due to the anticlerical reprisals of the communist government, only carrying out his work as a priest in secret, “decisively influenced many people by faithfully bearing priestly witness under the most difficult conditions” and became an “iconic figure of the faith in a society that had to rediscover the path to God” after the political turnaround.  

By Murcadha O Flaherty and John Newton

RELIGIOUS Sisters are transforming communities across Latin America by travelling to isolated parishes that have not seen a priest for years. Mother Lorena told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the impact of the work being done by the Misioneras de Jesús Verbo y Víctima (Missionaries of Jesus Word and Victim). When she started working in the parish of Virgen del Carmelo de Villa Ygatimy, Paraguay three years ago some of its chapels had not seen a priest since 2013. 

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