Coronavirus: Christians in the Holy Land paying a heavy price

by Christophe Lafontaine.

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic and confinement measures, pilgrims are staying away from the Holy Land. The streets of Jerusalem will certainly be quite empty at Easter. ACN International looks at the situation and relays the calls to pray for local Christians. The cancellation of pilgrimages will have serious repercussions on the tourism industry on which many Christian families in Israel and the Palestinian Territories depend.

Iraq: Batnaya is back

Catholic charity to help rebuild flattened Christian village

by John Pontifex.

A massive programme has just received the go-ahead to help revive a Christian village in Iraq, which was almost completely razed to the ground after being seized by Daesh (ISIS).

The plan for Batnaya devised by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will involve restoring the Chaldean Catholic village’s parish church of St Kyriakos, repairing the nearby Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, the parish hall, library and parish house (presbytery), as well rebuilding the flattened St Oraha’s Dominican Convent and the kindergarten, which the Sisters will run, caring for 125 children.

ACN 20200212 97001 Easy Resize

Reconstruction of St Kiryakos Church in Batnaya. Photos showing the destruction and damage of the Church after ISIS attacks and liberation.
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

ASIA BIBI: Encounter with an icon

While in France, Asia Bibi has requested political asylum. This Pakistani Christian woman, whose fate ACN has followed closely since she was first sentenced in 2010, recently gave an interview with the French national office of ACN.

Quite obviously, Asia Bibi is tired. Interviews and official meetings have taken up the few days she has spent in France. Nonetheless, she manages to smile for the photographers with their constantly clicking cameras and valiantly consents to the long succession of interviews. “It is thanks to the media that I am still alive”, she insists.

ACN 20200226 97604 Easy ResizeAsia Bibi in Paris, February 26 2020.
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

Burkina Faso - Armed Group Massacre 24 People including Catholic catechist

This is a brief news update with information that we have received from our local partners regarding the attack in Pansi in Yagha province (Burkina Faso). The news reports have been quite confusing with some incorrect information being published however, we can confirm the following:

On Sunday, February 16th, around 6 am, a big number of armed individuals (around 30 people) burst into Pansi, surrounded the village and began to search house after house, taking money and clothes.

After that, they grouped the men in lots of 10 and made them lie down on the floor. In an attempt to survive, some of them began to run. This limited the number of those killed to 24, including one Catholic catechist.

ACN expresses great sadness at the murder of Nigerian seminarian Michael Nnadi

Great sadness and dismay was expressed by the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) at the murder of the 18-year-old Nigerian seminarian, Michael Nnadi on Saturday. He had been abducted by unidentified assailants, along with three other seminarians, on 8 January this year from the Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna in northern Nigeria. Whereas his three fellow students were all eventually able to regain their freedom, Michael Nnadi was sadly found dead on Saturday.

Michael Nnadi

Michael Nnadi was a young and gifted seminarian who played the keyboard at Mass. He was murdered on Saturday 1st of February 2020 after being kidnapped from the Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna in northern Nigeria. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

“With a very heavy heart, I wish to inform you that our dear son, Michael was murdered by the bandits on a date we cannot confirm. He and the wife of a doctor were arbitrarily separated from the group and killed. The Rector identified the corpse this afternoon,” Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria, said in a statement released on Feb. 1. According to local media, the other murdered person was the wife of a doctor living in Kaduna. She had also been abducted, along with her two children, by armed men on 24 January this year.

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