Aid to the Church in Need gives thanks for record year of donations
The funds helped finance 5,303 projects in 148 countries.
By Jürgen Liminski
NEW YORK--In 2016, international
Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has once again raised a record
total in donations. Last year, ACN brought in close to $148M, topping the 2015
total by $5.7M. This was the highest total ever raised in a year. The funds
helped finance 5,303 projects in 148 countries.
More than a quarter of the grants were awarded for projects in located in
Africa, where the Church is growing very fast. The continent accounts for more
than a third of all grant applications.
Countries located in the Saharan zone
receive particular attention, as do northern Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, all
of which are countries where an aggressive form of Islam has been spreading.
Just behind funding for Africa came emergency
and subsistence aid for Church communities in the Middle East, the cradle of
Christianity. This support is vital for ensuring the survival of Christianity
in the region. In the Middle East, Iraq and Syria received the most aid in
2016. This is of course due to the volatile political situation in these two
More than $66M flowed into the crisis
areas in the Middle East since 2011. This aid is expected to continue to grow
exponentially in 2017 as ACN has launched a multi-million campaign to help
displaced Christians return to their homes in areas newly liberated from the
grip of ISIS.
As in the preceding years, the majority of
the total aid was earmarked for rebuilding projects, which accounted for 30
percent of all spending; next came emergency aid for the Middle East and
subsistence aid for women religious, as well as support for pastoral formation:
some 30,000 catechists and pastoral agents around the world were among recipients
and Eastern Europe especially, the focus of the aid is shifting from building projects
to training and continued education. The Balkan countries have moved to the
center of attention in this part of the world, because radical forms of Islam
are making itself felt there as well. Construction and repair of 1,200 chapels,
churches, cathedrals and seminaries all over the world were financed in part by
ACN, mostly in regions hard hit by natural disasters. One third of
the building projects were in Africa.
priest (or 43,015 in total) received help in the form of Mass stipends,
especially in Africa (14,403) and Asia (11,293). That meant that every 22 seconds Mass was elebrated somewhere in the world for the intentions of ACN donors. Aid was
approved for 10,760 seminarians, a number equivalent to every eleventh
seminarian worldwide. Most of them were preparing for the priesthood in Africa
(4,667), Latin America (2,900) and Eastern Europe (1,577).
Training and/or subsistence aid was
granted to 11,080 women religious, or every 62nd sister worldwide. In 2015,
only every 67th sister received aid. In most cases, the help was in the form of
subsistence aid for members of contemplative orders for women. Further funding
was granted for to purchase 375 cars,
149 motorcycles and 239 bicycles as well as two boats.
fundraising through a network of national offices in 23 countries.
Mass in Mozambique; ACN photo