Brooklyn Diocese lends support to Christians in the Middle East

THE 23RD ANNUAL BISHOP DIMARZIO Golf Classic 2018 raised $100,000 for Christians in the Middle East. The recipient of the funds was Aid to the Church in Need-USA (ACN), the international papal charity. The event—named after Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and produced by the DeSales Media Group, the diocesan media company—was held July 12, 2018 at the North Hills Country Club in Manhasset, New York. Some 120 golfers participated.

Christians in the Middle East are under siege and Aid to the Church supports them in many ways, across the region, in particular in Syria and Iraq
l-r, Msgr. Harrington, Bishop DiMarzio, Mr. Marlin, Mr. Art Dignam, CEO Of DeSales Media Group; ACN Photo By Kim Hill

Honorees were George Marlin, chairman of the Aid to the Church in Need-USA; and Melkite Father Antoine Rizk, pastor of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Brooklyn, NY.

At the award ceremony, Msgr. Kieran Harrington, chairman and president of DeSales Media group and vicar for communications at the Diocese of Brooklyn, talked about the founding of ACN in 1947 by Dutch Norbertine Father Werenfried van Straaten.

He explained how the organization played a vital role in helping the Church behind the Iron Curtain and how today its focus is on the Middle East, in particular Iraq and Syria, where Christians have suffered the ravages of ISIS.

Having just returned from a three-month trip in the Middle East, Msgr. Harrington stressed how in northern Iraq and Lebanon in particular the “work of Aid to the Church in Need was highly visible,” in Iraq to help the resettlement of Christians on the Nineveh Plains, and in Lebanon to help the many thousands of Syrian Christian refugees. “I saw first-hand how much the organization is doing and how much its support means for suffering faithful,” said Msgr. Harrington.

Accepting the award, Mr. Marlin reported that ACN raised just over $145M in 2017 and that the organization financed more than 5300 projects in 149 countries last year. Echoing the theme of the day, the ACN Chairman explained that a large portion of aid has gone to the Middle East, as it has since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011. “Christians in Iraq and Syria, in particular,” said Mr. Marlin, “have been threatened with extinction and need all the help they can get.”

He added that, since mid-2014, when ISIS swept through Iraq and Syria, ACN has given more support to local Christian communities than any other private agency, a combined aid package in excess of $30M. ACN just announced $3.5$ in new funding for 40 pastoral and emergency aid projects to benefit Christians in Syria.

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Marlin thanked the Diocese of Brooklyn for its support for devoting its Christians in the Middle East, and expressed hope that other dioceses across the US would follow suit.

Father Rizk called on Christians in the West to always bear in mind that Christians around the world “are one,” and to “never forget our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.” The priest praised ACN as an expression and instrument of that solidarity.