Dear Friend in Christ,
As I write this letter parts of Victoria are in coronavirus lockdown and the rush on supermarkets is beginning again in some places.
All we can do - as you well know - is pray and carry on. Below you can watch a video from ACN’s International President Cardinal Mauro Piacenza thanking our benefactors during these times for continuing to support the suffering Church.
In other news, I am excited about this mailing for two reasons, the first is that I can report on what your offerings have made possible in 2019; the second is the reprinting of the very popular book by our founder: They call me the Bacon Priest.
Annual Report 2019
As part of this Mirror, you will see a two-page report on ACN’s 2019 activity. Your support - with that of our benefactors around the world - raised AUD $171 million and made possible more than 5200 projects in 139 countries. These monies have built churches, supported poor priests, seminarians and religious, trained catechists., provided pastoral transport and sent religious materials into Catholic communities with none.
I encourage you to view the full international activity report at: www.aidtochurch.org/annual-report.
On a local front, the benefactors of ACN Australia collectively gave $4,535,660 in 2019 for the suffering Church.
This amount actually signifies the largest amount ever raised by ACN Australia from individual offerings (excluding legacies). The amount came from 34,000 individual gifts, the largest annual number of gifts. We also welcomed to the ACN family the largest number of new Australian benefactors for some years. In broad terms, these positive results stemmed from new outreach initiatives, special campaigns and an overall increase in the presence of ACN in the Catholic community.
One of the most important ways we grew that presence was through our parish outreach program. This involved volunteers going into parishes and speaking briefly at the end of Mass about our work. These visits resulted in parishioners making one-off donations but even more importantly, many signed up to our mail which is allowing us to build new relationships. In 2019, the outreach program led to presentations in 46 parishes speaking to approximately 20,000 parishioners. We had planned to double this program in 2020 but the coronavirus has temporarily stalled these plans.
What these Australian figures really mean is that (a) more people are thinking about the suffering Church (b) more people are praying for the suffering Church and (c) more people are giving to the suffering Church. Our mandate to keep the faith alive in those places where it is at greatest risk is only possible through the spiritual and financial offerings of our benefactors.
Please accept my deep thanks for your offerings to date. May Our Lord bless you for all you do in His name for our brothers and sisters in faith.
They call me the Bacon Priest
I have spoken to numerous benefactors who found their way to ACN by reading the book penned by our founder, They call me the Bacon Priest. First published in 1961 this is the heartfelt and moving story of the beginnings of our charity. This young unknown Norbetine priest in Belgium was asked in 1947 to do something to help the German Catholics who had been scattered across their nation as a result of the war.
What developed is the international charity we know today with its unique charism to spiritually and pastorally assist the suffering Church. (In the book you will also learn how Fr Werenfried got his nickname ‘the bacon priest’).
The book was last reprinted in English in 1991 so we are very proud that Australia has led the reprinting of this 5th edition. It has a beautiful new cover and we are offering it to you this month as a thank you for your generous offering. You can also opt to purchase extra copes as it makes a fantastic gift.
We are hoping and praying that the book will be a way for us to bring new people to know and love this work. Why not give one as a gift and help us spread the word in this way.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Thank you for praying and offering to ensure the faith is kept alive in those places where it is at risk. Please know we pray for you each day.
National Director - ACN Australia
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