Featured Projects in June

*A new chapel for a growing village community
* Outboard motors for seven boats used in the pastoral ministry
*3000 Bibles and 3000 copies of the "DOCAT"
*Support for the life and apostolate of 70 religious sisters of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana
*Help to renovate the Catholic parish church of Magadan

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Important note: ACN receives 5000 project requests per year and we cannot possibly share all the project stories and images with you.

The projects below are just a small sample of the project requests Aid to the Church in Need receives. Therefore when making a donation we recommend you specify your gift to "projects most in need" that way your donation will be allocated to a project that desperatley needs funding.
We greatly appreciate when you specify your donation in such a way.

However if you would like your donation directed to a specific project area or country, you can leave a comment in the online donation form.

To avoid overfunding of individual projects, if a project has been fully funded your donation will be directed towards a similar project in that region.

If you have the means and would like to "adopt a specific project" please call 1800 101 201 during business hours (AEST) and we can match you with a project that you can fully or partially fund.
(Please note due to the time and resources that this takes, project adoption is only available for donations over AUD $2000).

Zambia

Success Story: renovation of the Saint Augustine‘s seminary in Kabwe

The landlocked state of Zambia in southern Africa is one of the more stable countries on the continent. Christians make up the overwhelming majority (90%) of its population of around 17 million people. However, only around one fifth of the population are Catholics, the majority belonging to a range of different Protestant communities.

The Catholic Church here is facing major challenges. In the past the life of the Church was steered above all by foreign missionaries, who were able to obtain support from their home countries, but today it is the native African bishops and priests who are increasingly shouldering the responsibility. In many places the infrastructure is poor, the parishes cover vast areas and the Catholic faithful often live widely scattered, so that many more priests are needed in order to minister to them all. At the same time the sects are very active in proselytising, drawing away many of the faithful with their easy promises and simplistic messages of salvation. They promise people health, wealth and material success and so manage to entice many people, including Catholics. They are successful above all where, owing to the lack of financial means and the vast distances, the pastoral outreach of the Church is not sufficiently intensive to make people feel truly rooted and at home in the Church.

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Renovation of St Augustine's Major Seminary Mpima - Rehabilitation works on the students' ablution block. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need

What the Church in Zambia needs above all, therefore, is more priests. But in order to train these priests, the appropriate infrastructure and facilities have to be present. In the Saint Augustine‘s seminary in Kabwe there are almost 90 young men training for the priesthood. But the seminary building, which dates back to the 1950s, had for some years now been in urgent need of renovation. There were cracks in the walls, falling ceiling tiles and roof panels, a hopelessly outdated plumbing system… All these things were making life here difficult and in some cases even dangerous. Above all the toilet and sanitary facilities needed urgent repair and renovation. Thanks to the help of our generous benefactors, ACN was able to contribute AUD $24,500 thereby enabling the bathroom facilities to be properly refurbished and the rusting pipework replaced. The seminarians are delighted with the results and send their heartfelt thanks to all who have helped.

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The blessing of the completed building. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need

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The Seminarians are so grateful for the completion of the much needed renovation of the toilet and shower facilities. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need


Benin

A new chapel for a growing village community

The parish of the Most Holy Trinity is based in Guilmaro in northwest Benin. Like so many other rural parishes in Africa, it covers a vast area with numerous outlying villages. Many of the faithful have to travel long journeys in order to be able to participate in Holy Mass.
The village of Damouti is the largest outstation in the parish. At present it has a simple mud chapel – more of a hut really – where the Catholic faithful gather to pray. The priests come here regularly to celebrate Holy Mass, and the people also take an active part in the May devotions, the Holy Rosary and the catechetical sessions in the chapel.

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Construction of a chapel in Damouti, Paroisse Sainte Trinité de Guilmaro. Small clay building currently serving as a place of Sunday celebration and other meetings. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

But by now the small mud chapel is far too small to accommodate all the faithful, and over half the congregation currently have to stand outside during Holy Mass, exposed to the burning sun in the dry season and the torrential downpours in the rainy season. And needless to say, it is far from easy to follow the liturgy from outside. Meanwhile, the number of Catholic faithful continues to grow. Every year there are numerous baptisms. For while 60% of the people within the parish still follow traditional African religions, many of them are very open to the Good News of Christ.

And so the local people would love to have a larger chapel. But there is no way they can finance such an undertaking from their own resources, and so their parish priest Father Noel Kolida has turned to ACN, confident of our support. We would like to be able to help him with a contribution of AUD $ 24,600… Can you help us?

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Currently this building is very cramped and can no longer accommodate a large number. Often many, more than half of the faithful follow the celebrations out in full sun and in the rain in the rainy season.
In times of warmth, it is difficult to stay there and pray in peace. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need. 

Solomon Islands

Outboard motors for seven boats used in the pastoral ministry

The Solomon Islands are located in the south Pacific, around 450 miles (720 km) east of New Guinea and around 1600 miles (2000 km) northeast of Australia. Almost all their population of 130,000 people are Christians today, though most belong to various Protestant communities. Catholics make up around 13%.

The Catholic diocese of Gizo is based in the town of the same name, the capital city of the island of Ghizo. However, the parish also covers over 40 islands within a radius of 300 km (190 miles). Three native priests and 12 missionaries from various countries of Asia between them minister to the eight parishes of the diocese, each of which likewise covers several islands. In order to reach the faithful they have to travel by boat for many hours, from island to island, often followed by additional strenuous foot journeys through the bush, to reach their final destination.

Altogether there are 118 mission stations, and in order for the priests to be able to reach them, they now need new outboard motors for each of the seven boats they use. For with the regular heavy use to which they are subjected, these motors suffer severe wear and tear, with the result that after around three years they are no longer reliable and prone to frequent breakdown. Needless to say, this can be fatally dangerous on the open sea. But in fact the outboard motors on these boats have already been in constant use for over seven years and are now in urgent need of replacement. Bishop Luciano Capelli has turned to ACN for help, and we have promised him AUD $ 32,800 so that he can purchase these seven new outboard motors.

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The ordination of Rev Deacon Thomas Patavolomo at Choiseul. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

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Rev Deacon Thomas Patavolomo is a catholic priest in his home place at Voru Voru North Choiseul in the Gizo diocese. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.


India

Success Story: a new water well for a boarding school run by Italian sisters in the diocese of Eluru

The Daughters of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple are an Italian congregation, founded in the 19th century. Their particular mission is the care of children and young girls, and the congregation is present today in Italy, India, Djibouti and Somalia, running schools, boarding schools, orphanages and leprosy centres and also caring for the elderly.

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 Borewell for St. Joseph's Boarding for poor girls - Daughters of Presentation of Mary in the Temple. The drilling work for the well has started - the sisters with priest and workers on the building site. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

In India for example, in the town of Dhabhagudam in the diocese of Eluru, the sisters run a boarding school where they teach between 140 and 150 children from the remote villages of the jungle region. For children such as these, this is the only way they can possibly attend school. The people of the region are extremely poor, often working as day labourers and living precariously from hand to mouth. Very few of them can even read or write, and alcohol abuse is widespread, causing devastation to the lives of many families. The children too would be condemned to an equally precarious existence but for the presence of the sisters, who have given them the opportunity to attend school and learn. The fruits of their apostolate are very evident, with falling illiteracy rates, less child labour and a decrease in the number of child marriages. All in all, the awareness is increasingly gaining ground among the people that education is the key to a better future, at least for their children.

The sisters had a problem, however. Their one and only water supply was being used not only by themselves and the boarding school but also by the surrounding population, and above all by elderly people from the neighbourhood who were dependent on the sisters‘ water supply, leading to a situation that was becoming increasingly problematic. Now, thanks to our generous benefactors, we were able to provide AUD $ 12,628 to provide the sisters with an additional water supply. They send their heartfelt thanks to you all.

Honduras

3000 Bibles and 3000 copies of the "DOCAT"

Honduras is the second largest country in Central America. With the exception of those countries where there are ongoing wars, it has the unenviable distinction of having the second highest number of murders anywhere, second only to its close neighbour, El Salvador. Violence is an ever present reality, with robberies, murders and abductions a daily occurrence. Gang warfare, drug cartels and crime have made it a dangerous country to live in. The social and political inequalities are glaringly apparent, and around 70% of the population currently live below the poverty threshold. Many people, especially the young, dream only of leaving the country.

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Although only 37% of the population are Catholics – an extremely low percentage for Latin America – the Catholic Church is one of the few signs of hope in this violence-plagued land, in which many people can see no future for themselves. But at the same time the Church herself faces massive problems, including the fact that within the last 50 years the population has grown from 2.5 to 9 million souls. Hence there is a great need for pastoral care and evangelization, but far too few priests to minister to all the people. Lay catechists pray a vital role here, but there is also a great shortage even of these well-instructed laity.

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ACN is helping here by sending 3000 Bibles and 3000 copies of the DOCAT – a handbook of the Social Teaching of the Church aimed specially at young people. For the formation of young people is very important, above all in a country facing so many major social problems, so that they can help contribute to a better and more humane society in the future, where God‘s laws are observed by all. ACN has agreed to help with AUD $37,720 towards the cost of these books.


Kazakhstan

Support for the life and apostolate of 70 religious sisters of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana

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With an area of over half a million square kilometres (576,000 km², or 225,000 square miles) the archdiocese of Mary Most Holy, based in the Kazakh capital Astana (now recently renamed Nursultan) is larger geographically than the whole of Spain. However, Catholics make up only a tiny minority in the country and, given the vast distances, their pastoral care is very difficult. There are 40 priests serving in the diocese, assisted by some 70 religious sisters belonging to various different congregations. The sisters give religious instruction to the children, young people and adults, preparing them for reception of the Sacraments, organising prayer and retreat days, summer holiday camps and youth meetings and caring for the sick and elderly, the lonely and the needy.

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The Vincentian sisters, who have a convent in the small town of Shortandy, around 50 miles (80 km) north of the capital, regularly visit people in need in the villages round about, within a radius of 50 miles or so. In Makinsk, further north, other sisters of their congregation run a soup kitchen, providing around 40 families with a hot meal each day. And some 25 children come to the sisters‘ convent every day to play, do handicrafts and be given religious instruction.

The sisters of the congregation of Divine Mercy accompany the priests on their visits to the villages. And they have also taken into their house eight girls who are studying in the city of Petropavlovsk. They not only provide these young women with safe accommodation but also care for them, answering their questions about faith and praying together with them. Once a month they also organise youth meetings, in collaboration with the priests.

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ACN has been supporting these sisters on a yearly basis. Archbishop Tomasz Peta has written to us about them: „These religious sisters are close to God and thereby remain indissolubly united with their fellow men. They live for the sake of other people and act as their intercessors. They share in the living conditions of ordinary people, so they can understand them and pray to God on their behalf. They share their lives with all people, cooking food, tending their garden, going to market and working with their hands. In wintertime they need to heat their convent and nurture and strengthen their own spiritual life and knowledge by reading spiritual literature. Since Church and State are separated, they depend entirely on the generosity and offerings of the faithful. Your financial support helps to liberate them from such daily cares so that they can devote themselves entirely to their vocation.“

This year we will once again be helping all 70 religious sisters working in the archdiocese, with a contribution of AUD $58,220 for the support of their life and apostolate.

Russia

Help to renovate the Catholic parish church of Magadan

The port town of Magadan in the Far East of Siberia was first established in 1929 as a concentration camp. During Soviet times it was the principal centre of the labour camp system of the Kolyma region and the port of entry for hundreds of thousands of deported victims. Right up to 1991 the area was a strict military exclusion zone. Today the town of Magadan has a population of around 96,000. The direct distance between Magadan and Moscow is around 6000 km (3750 miles) and the time difference between them is no less than eight hours!

The Catholic parish of the Nativity of Christ in Magadan was established in 1990, shortly before the end of the Soviet Union. It was one of the first Catholic parishes in the whole of Russia‘s Far East. Initially the Catholic faithful met together in a private home. The present parish church was completed in the year 2002.

Ever since 1994 Father Michael Shields, an Alaskan priest of the congregation of the Sacred Heart Brothers, has been parish priest of this extremely active community. There are catechetical sessions for all ages, and especially for children and young people, who represent the future of the Church. The children spend a lot of time in the church, since the climate is so harsh and cold that they cannot spend much time playing outside. Polish sisters of the Divine Mercy congregation also work in the parish, running children‘s and youth groups and organising Catholic holiday camps for the children in all the school holidays, aptly named "Holidays with God“. And there is a very lively prayer group which meets above all to pray the Rosary.

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Father Michael has also established an initiative for helping pregnant women and girls in conflict situations and encouraging them to keep their baby rather than aborting it. Over a hundred children have already been saved so far in this way. And the parish likewise cares for women who have already had abortions and now come seeking inner healing and reconciliation. Some of the women even come here from other towns, seeking help. In addition to this there is a parish-run spiritual and therapeutic outreach programme for those with problems of addiction, especially alcoholism and drug addiction. Today many former addicts have since become active members of the parish.

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Father Michael also ministers to former prisoners of the gulags, and has actually produced a book in Russian with their life testimonies. Many of these by now very elderly people have spoken in it for the first time about the fate they suffered. In many cases even their own families had until then known almost nothing about it.

Now however, after almost 20 years, the parish church of the Nativity is in need of serious renovation work. ACN has promised to help with AUD $49,200.

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