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First  mass at Mar Toma church in western Mosul since the liberation of the city from IS First mass at Mar Toma church in western Mosul since the liberation of the city from IS  (ANSA)

Aid to the Church in Need: bringing hope to suffering Christians

The Pontifical Charity ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ (ACN) says it is financing more than 5300 projects in 149 countries to provide support to suffering and persecuted Christians.

By Susy Hodges

Presenting ACN’s annual report for 2017, the charity’s Executive President, Thomas Heine-Geldern, said they received more than 124 million euros in donations from around 400,000 benefactors across the world.

Helping impoverished priests and religious

Thanks to these donations, ACN said it was able to provide financial support for more than 40,000 priests and religious in poor areas of the world who receive no other form of assistance.

Among the projects financed by the charity during 2017 were many for the rebuilding of churches and convents, humanitarian aid, formation courses for the laity and help to Christian TV and radio stations.

Christianity's future under threat in Syria and Iraq

Speaking in an interview with Vatican News, Heine-Geldern said a large portion of ACN’s 2017 proceeds went to support projects in Syria, Iraq and across Africa. He explained that the charity had increased its support for Syria and Iraq as a result of the "very deplorable" developments in those countries that now threaten the very survival of the ancient Christian communities there.

Noting that before the First World War 20 percent of the population in Syria and Iraq was Christian compared to the current figure of less than 4 percent, Heine-Geldern warned that there is a real risk that these small and dwindling Christian communities could become extinct unless the faithful are provided with material support to remain in their homelands.

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05 July 2018, 14:58