Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) broke another record in 2022, having topped 220 million AUD in donations received.
ACN does not receive money from governments or from other NGOs, which means that all this aid was only possible due to the generosity of more than 364,000 individual benefactors who donated a record total of $221,475,160 AUD during 2022, almost 13 million more than in 2021.
In a message to these benefactors, departing International Executive President of ACN, Thomas Heine-Geldern, says that “it is with gratitude and humility that we see that the blessing of the Almighty has once again rested on our work, and that our benefactors have heard the cries of our oppressed brothers and sisters. This allows us to face the future with confidence, even though our help will continue to be needed for years to come”.
Together with 4.1 million AUD taken from reserves of previous years, activities amounting to 225.6 million AUD were financed in 2022. Of this total amount of expenditure, 82.6%, or 186.3 million AUD, was dedicated to mission-related activities. Of this 82.6%, project funding comprised of 87.2% and information, advocacy and evangelisation work consisted of 12.8%.
A total of 17.4% of the total expenses, or 39.3 million AUD, went to administration (6.7%) and fundraising (10.7%).
The largest single recipient of ACN help in 2022 was Ukraine, where the foundation stepped up its assistance at a time when the Ukrainian Catholic Church is in a particularly difficult situation due to the ongoing conflict. A total of 353 projects were supported in the country, especially to help priests, religious, seminarians and other Church workers who have been working with refugees and others in desperate situations. With 15 million AUD, Ukraine absorbed almost 10% of ACN aid during this year.
Regionally, Africa received the most aid provided by ACN benefactors, with 31.5%, followed by the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe, with 18.1% and 17.7% respectively. Latin America received 16.7% of aid, and Asia and Oceania 14.6%, with the remaining 1.4% going to other areas.
Besides the sum allocated to assistance projects, 23.8 million AUD went to information, evangelisation and advocacy work, including the publication of religious literature, prayer campaigns and the defence of the interests of persecuted and needy Christians in decision-making centres.
ACN’s aid translated into 972 construction projects, over one-third of which were churches or chapels; 1,253 vehicles, including 564 cars, 252 motorcycles, 16 boats, 11 buses and 4 trucks, as well as 406 bicycles to make life easier for pastoral workers to carry out their missions, especially in Africa and Latin America. The foundation also supported over 40,000 priests with Mass stipends and close to 21,000 religious sisters, as well as almost 14,000 seminarians.
Overall, ACN funded a total of 5,702 projects, which is 404 more than in 2021. These projects were carried out in 1,199 dioceses – over a third of the total in the Catholic Church – in 128 countries. The largest project supported was the restoration of a partly destroyed parish centre in Iraq, at 1.5 million AUD, and the smallest was a training programme in Colombia, valued at 500 AUD.
The financial results of ACN worldwide are being audited by the firm PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers).