DRC: “What ACN offers, no other organization does”

An interview with Christine du Coudray by Maria Lozano.

On her return from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she visited the Catholic dioceses of the Kasai region, Christine du Coudray, ACN’s section heads for this country, reported on the situation in the region and gave her impressions.

ACN 20190603 88118 Easy Resize

Christine du Coudray with Bishop Emery Kibal, Photographer/Author: Emeric Fohlen. Copyright Status: Copyright: Author/Aid to the Church in Need

Can you give us a description of the overall situation in the country?

This was the first time I had visited the Kasai region of this immense country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, four times the size of France in area. You’re walking on land rich in mineral wealth of every kind – diamonds, gold, minerals of all kinds, petroleum and so forth, yet the infrastructure is wrecked. This particular region, which I spent two weeks travelling, is particularly isolated, and some areas are isolated enclaves. In the country as a whole, the state of the roads, where they exist at all, is catastrophic, but I really found this particular region to be in a state of complete desolation...

Religious Persecution: “Our silence is our shame”

Interview with Mark Riedemann, 03.06.2019 UN Commemoration Religious Persecution by Maria Lozano.

On May 28, 2019 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution establishing August 22 as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. The proposed observance was tabled by Poland with the support the United States, Canada, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need, serving the suffering and persecuted Christians for over 70 years, welcomes this resolution as a first step towards drawing greater attention to the as yet under recognized tragedy of religious persecution – particularly that of violence against Christians, to date the largest faith group experiencing persecution for religious belief. Maria Lozano interviewed Mark Riedemann, Aid to the Church in Need’s Director of Public Affairs and Religious Freedom.

ACN 20171009 62425 Easy Resize

Nigeria: “The attacks on Christians are becoming more flagrant”

by Roman Kris (youth magazine f1rstlife) Nigeria

The turmoil continues in Nigeria. Reports of the defeat of the terrorist group “Boko Haram” contradict what the priest John Bakeni experiences every day. The priest is responsible for coordinating aid for survivors of terrorist attacks and displaced persons in his native diocese of Maiduguri in northern Nigeria. The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has been working closely together with him for many years.

ACN 20170328 52235 Easy Resize

Father John Bakeni - Photographer/Author: Johannes Klausa. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

While the threat of terrorist attacks is omnipresent in the north, in Central Nigeria, attacks on Christian farmers by the predominantly Muslim nomads from the tribe of the Fulani are becoming ever more frequent. According to the project partners of ACN, anti-religious sentiments can also be found behind disputes over land.

Roman Kris from the youth magazine “f1rstlife” talked with John Bakeni about the current situation.

A Message from National Director Mr Bernard Toutounji 


Dear friends in Christ,

Bernard Headshot HighRes from LinkedInCircle

It’s been only two months since our last Mirror mailing but so much has gone on in the Church and in the world. I feel that more than ever, the mission of Aid to the Church in Need, to uphold the faith when it is so often sidelined and persecuted, is more vital than ever. Of course our prayers have gone out to our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, who on Easter morning were subject to bomb blasts in their own churches, killing over 250. To think, on the very day we celebrated Christ’s triumph over death, we were forced to so tearfully consider what that triumph really means. We know Christ did not guarantee his followers worldly peace, on the contrary, he warned that many of us will be hated for His sake, but it is still never easy.

We know that what he does offer to each of us, baptised into His death, is an eternal peace that brings hope amidst despair, and peace amidst conflict. As we come out of Easter, and look towards Pentecost, let’s pray that the gifts of the Holy Spirit will be renewed in us. In relation to those terrible bombings, you may have heard that we opened up a national appeal to upport the Catholic people in Sri Lanka. As you would appreciate, it’s not only about rebuilding churches  (which we will of course do), but it is about building, and rebuilding, the faith and the trust of our brothers and sisters. If you did want to support our special projects in Sri Lanka simply head to www.aidtochurch.org/srilanka

May the souls of those who died, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.

Philippines: “The faith is what constitutes the Church, not the circumstances!” Safe and secure in God among the ruins of Islamist destruction

by Hannah Kohn

Father Teresito Soganub was held hostage by Islamist extremists in the Philippine city of Marawi for almost four months. However, even captivity and the certainty of his own death have not made him falter in his efforts to achieve peaceful coexistence between the religions. Two years after the ordeal ACN publishes Father Soganubs interview with Mark von Riedemann.

ACN 20180403 69546 Easy Resize

It happened on the afternoon of 23 May 2017. The parishioners had come together in Mary Help of Christians Cathedral to pray for the patronal festival the following day. The congregation suddenly became aware of shots being fired in the city. Father Teresito Soganub, vicar general of the Territorial Prelature of Marawi, recalled how unusual this was, even for Marawi, where tensions are a normal part of daily life. As part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the city has an overwhelmingly Muslim majority and operates under a modified form of Sharia law. For him and five other members of the parish, this 23 May would become a critical turning point in their lives, the day on which the ISIS-linked rebels of the Maute group conquered their city and took them and more than 100 other residents of the city hostage as leverage against government forces. Over the next five months, more than 800 people would be killed, while hundreds of thousands of displaced persons fled the city. On 17 September, 116 days later, Father Soganub was finally rescued, while the fierce fighting over the city of Marawi continued to rage until 23 October 2017.

Back to top