Rome, 19 September 2007 – “May almighty God grant your mission ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ light and strength, so that in the future it may continue to give help there where the Churches are most in need”. This is how Benedict XVI’s message to participants in an international convention marking the 60th anniversary of ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ concludes. This message was written on behalf of the pope by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the convention was held September 13th to 16th in Castelgandolfo.
“We look with great concern – the document reads - at some of the local churches in the Middle East which are today threatened in their very existence… the numerous Catholics forced to live to a large extent without pastoral support, who are either forbidden altogether, or permitted only under severe limitations, to publicly profess their Faith”.
In the message the Pope, who also spoke of the anniversary of the founding of ACN in his Sunday Angelus, defines the organisations concerns “which demand particular attention”, Benedict XVI called on ACN to take action for the Church using the media, which he described as having “enormous influence” on humanity’s life and culture. The Church urgently needs people through whom God can be made increasingly present in this wide field, people who will…use all the technical means available so His message can reach the ends of the earth”.
Over 80 members of the international direction, project leaders, presidents, ecclesial assistants and national directors of ACN took part in the convention, to reflect on the future of the mission founded in 1947 by Fr. Werenfried van Straaten, known as “Padre Lardo”.