Rome (AsiaNews) – “It has been a good year, in fact, it has been one of the best in the 60 years of the history of our work,” said the international president of Aid to the Church in Need. Hans-Peter Röthlin was speaking during the presentation of the organisation’s work in 2006, thanking benefactors from the 17 countries where it is present through national secretariats. Overall donations throughout the year reached a total of 81 million euros, which were all given to churches hindered in their mission or threatened by persecution or by poverty.
With 5,089 projects in 137 countries, ACN takes first place worldwide among those associations that support the pastoral ministry of the Church. More than 1.5 million Mass intentions were distributed to needy priests and more than 16,500 seminarians were helped in their studies of formation for the priesthood, so that they may become well prepared priests, truly anchored in the faith. A significant portion of aid went to cloistered monasteries: 180 were supported, including 100 in Eastern Europe. Among other spheres, there was the construction and upkeep of churches, chapels, convents and seminarians (29.8%), the supply of means of transport to missionaries (5.1%), and support to the mass media of Christian inspiration (3.2%). Specific initiatives focused on religious literature (4%), first and foremost through the dissemination of bibles and catechism books, including the “I Believe” and “God speaks to His children”, the latter having been translated and disseminated since 1978 to the tune of about 45 million copies. In 2006, another million copies were printed, including tens of thousands translated in seven local languages of India and in the pidgin dialect for Catholics in Papua New Guinea. Turkish is one of the new languages into which the “I Believe” was translated and 10,000 copies were printed and disseminated.
In areas where the Church is experiencing a serious crisis due to violations of religious freedom by governments or majority religions, ACN intervened through hundreds of projects aimed at supporting the Church in China (872,589 euros), in Venezuela (212,974 euros), in Myanmar (696,351 euros), in Cuba (1,075,148 euros), in Vietnam (857,001 euros), in Turkey (181,956 euros), in India (4,421,801 euros), in Indonesia (492,735 euros), in Iraq (131,629 euros), in Nigeria (836,484 euros) and in Pakistan (498,637 euros).