Miriam, The voice of Aleppo

In Aleppo the number of Christians shrank fivefold during the war. Now the economic crisis and the lack of professional employment opportunities are a source of anguish, especially for the young.

The performers are a choir of 60 or so children and young people, supported by five musicians. It is Saturday 17 March in the late afternoon. The Orthodox Youth Movement is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its creation. In the packed hall, the audience applauds appreciatively. A simple concept, but something that has become rare in recent years in this city of Aleppo, which was once the economic capital of the country, before the war.

ACN 20190402 86223 Easy ResizeA recital in Syria organized by MJO (Mouvement de la Jeunesse Orthodoxe) Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Humanitarian crisis in Venezuela – “We are simply watching people die”

Written by Johan Pacheco

The heartrending testimony of a Venezuelan doctor which we give below is a reflection of the terrible problems people are still suffering from in this South American country, and of the humanitarian crisis resulting from the scarcity and high cost of medicines in particular. It comes on top of the failures in the national electricity supply system, which is affecting the hospitals and hampering the necessary treatment of patients.

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Everyday elderly people come here to get a warm meal organised by the diocese

In an audio message sent to the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International), a young doctor, her voice trembling with emotion and close to tears, speaks of her sense of impotence at being unable to save lives, owing to the lack of medicines.

standinginsolidarity2Breaking the Chains of Persecution

Eisham pictured on the left is the daughter of Asia Bibi a Christian who spent almost a decade in prison because she was falsely accused of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Her voice cracking and blinking away the tears, Eisham Ashiq, the 18-year-old daughter of Asia Bibi, described her mother’s suffering and thanked ACN benefactors for their prayers and support. 

Speaking at an ACN event at London’s Westminster Cathedral, Eisham said: “Thank you so much, ACN, for all you are doing to help us. Please do not forget us.”

A Message from National Director Mr Bernard Toutounji

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Dear friends,

Greetings to you in Holy Week. Thank you to many of you who have (and still are) supporting our Easter catalogue that came out with Mirror 2. The sale of religious and devotional items is something that ACN Australia has been doing for decades and I am so grateful at the response to the current catalogue; this avenue is another way we are able to raise funds for those who share the same faith but have vastly different challenges in practicing it.

In Pakistan Asia Bibi is finally free after being acquitted of blasphemy – we are overjoyed that justice has been done. Thanks for all your prayers and solidarity. At the time of writing, Asia is still under protective custody and we pray that she can start a new life with her family in a safe environment very soon. Sadly, Asia Bibi has suffered enormously for her faith in Christ. She has endured nearly 10 painful years in solitary confinement following a false accusation of blasphemy. Aid to the Church in Need – with your help – supported her and her family who were forced to live in hiding during her imprisonment. We appealed on the family’s behalf, both in the media and with government ministers. We did all we could to ensure a favourable outcome for her case. 

Vehicles for God: Aid to the Church in Need has been getting things rolling for 70 years

Seventy years ago, the organisation founded by “Bacon Priest” Werenfried van Straaten (1913-2003), Aid to the Eastern Priests (today Aid to the Church in Need or ACN, initiated the campaign “A vehicle for God”. So-called “rucksack priests” were given vehicles so that they could dispense pastoral care to the displaced Catholics of the German diaspora after World War II.

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"Vehicles for God": The rucksack priest, Father Joseph Schneider from Freisenteinau, with his motorcycle. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

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