PH gets serious about helping persecuted Christians

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MANILA, Nov. 9, 2016 – As the only other majority Catholic nation in Asia, the Philippines concretizes its commitment to help the persecuted Church with the opening of Aid to the Church in Need’s Philippine office.

Founded in 1947, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) was initially a Catholic aid foundation for war refugees and was recognized as a papal foundation in 2011. ACN “is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, wherever they are persecuted or oppressed or suffering material need.” (Photo: ACN)

A Pontifical foundation, which aims to support the needs of Catholics and other Christians in high-conflict areas, Aid to the Church in Need now has a national office headed by its national president, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, together with its national director Jomar Luciano.

“The national office [of ACN Philippines] also will create a pool of benefactors that would support the worldwide effort of ACN. For a very long time, the Philippine Church has been a beneficiary of donors worldwide, now it’s time for us to also participate in this mission and extend our help to our brothers and sisters,” said Luciano in an interview.

Evangelization support

According to him, it is ACN’s mission “to give support to the suffering Church around the world and to help in the propagation of the faith, especially to places where the Church in persecuted.”

“It supports efforts of evangelization and mission,” added Luciano.

The idea of opening a Philippine ACN office came about when ACN executive president Baron Johannes Heereman von Zuydtwyck of the Knights of Malta in Germany, came to the Philippines to attend the 1 1st International YOUCAT Congress in Tagaytay, revealed Luciano.

Since ACN is the mother foundation of YOUCAT International, it was during this visit that Heereman von Zuydtwyck presented to Villegas the plan of creating a national section of ACN in the Philippines. Currently, the Philippines is the 23rd national section of ACN.

Religious Freedom Report

According to Luciano, ACN, which was initially established in 1947 as a Catholic aid foundation for war refugees, is guided by three principles: prayer, information, and charity.

“Through these principles, ACN aims to create awareness of the reality of our suffering brothers and sisters in order for us to extend our support to them. ACN will give us the chance to show our compassion and solidarity with our persecuted brethren through our help: prayer, information, and charity,” he explained.

Villegas will celebrate a Holy Mass on Nov. 15, Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. at the Manila Cathedral right before the blessing of the ACN Philippines Office located at 2/F Arzobispo wing, CBCP Building 470 Gen. Luna, Intramuros, Manila.

After the Mass, the ACN will also launch the Religious Freedom Report, which aims to give “an in-depth analysis of the situation of religious exercise in different countries where religious intolerance in reported” every two years, will be read. The Report will also be launched by ACN International in Rome, 6:00 p.m., Philippine time. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)

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