Ukraine benefits as global ACN head from Tyrone hails funding of 5,000+ projects

24 Jun, 2024 | Church, News

The Irishwoman who leads the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has hailed the generosity of some 360,000 benefactors in 23 countries – including Ireland – for their support in helping Christians suffering throughout the world including in the war-torn Gaza Strip and Ukraine.

Latest accounts for the international agency shows that ACN spent some €144.5m in 2023 across 138 countries.

In a message to benefactors, the executive president of ACN International, Co Tyrone native Regina Lynch (pictured), said, “Once again, this year, these numbers reflect a true miracle”.

Dublin based ACN Ireland is one of the 23 national offices that makes up the global Pontifical Foundation.

The generosity of the benefactors where ACN has national offices continues to allow it function without any financial support from governments or ecclesial bodies.

The country that recieved the most aid from ACN in 2023 was Ukraine, for the second year in a row, with €7.5m, at a time when the Catholic Church in Ukraine remains committed to healing the spiritual wounds of those traumatised by the war and continues, in this difficult situation, to accompany those who are suffering due to the ongoing conflict.

Syria came next, with €7.4m, followed by Lebanon, with €6.9m. In both these countries the Christian population is still dealing with the effects of a crippling economic crisis and, in the case of Syria, a long-lasting civil war and the terrible earthquake of 2023.

At the regional level, Africa received the most support, with almost a third of resources, or 31.4%, set aside for projects in the continent. Among the main beneficiary countries in this region are the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

“Africa is home to approximately

one in every five Catholics, one in every eight priests, one in every seven female religious, and almost a third of seminarians in the world. Besides that, the spread of terrorism and Islamic extremism in some countries, especially in the Sahel region, are a cause of great suffering and pain for Christians in this continent”, Ms Lynch explained.

The charity provided almost 1.75 million Mass stipends to 40,767 priests in 2023. Statistically, this means that one in every ten priests in the world received support from ACN and that every 18 seconds a Mass was celebrated somewhere around the world for the intentions of ACN benefactors.

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