Director of ACN’s projects department will travel to Iraq in papal plane
REGINA LYNCH, THE DIRECTOR OF THE PROJECTS DEPARTMENT OF AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED (ACN),will be the official delegate of the organization ROACO (a papal organization for the support of the Eastern Catholic Churches) during the papal visit to Iraq March 5-8. As such, she will travel to Iraq on the papal plane.
A native of Northern Ireland, Lynch has been working for the past 40 years in support of Christians suffering persecution, discrimination, and other forms of extreme need. She has led the ACN projects department since 2008.
“Including a representative of ROACO in the papal entourage of the upcoming papal visit is a tangible sign of how much the Holy See values the work of the agencies in the Middle East, East and Central Europe, India, Eritrea and Ethiopia,” she said.
Lynch first visited Iraq in 2008, where ACN has been helping since 1972. But she especially recalls her visit to Iraq at another historic moment for the Christians of the country, in the fateful month of August 2014, just four days after ISIS had invaded the Christian towns and villages of the Nineveh Plains.
During her time with ACN, Lynch has travelled to almost 30 different countries to witness first- hand the difficulties faced by the local Church and to see how best to alleviate the suffering. However, this will be the first time that she has been part of a papal entourage.
She considers the papal visit to Iraq to be a historic journey: “The Holy Father’s trip to Iraq is such a sign of encouragement, a message of hope to the Iraqi Christians who have been tested in their faith all down the centuries. And you know, when you are a minority, you can feel very alone sometimes. You can feel abandoned, and the fact that Pope Francis is coming now in such a difficult time is going to give the Iraqi Christians hope.”
For Lynch it is a great honor to be the representative of ROACO: “We are very grateful for the existence of the ROACO,” she said. “It is not only a source of information and an advocate of projects supporting the Eastern Catholic Churches, but it also provides a platform for important exchanges among those agencies such as ACN, which commits itself to supporting both spiritually and financially these ancient Churches with their unique heritage. In so doing we help the Church to breath with both lungs—from the East and the West.”