‘Carrying on the work of Faith’—our organization has new leader!

THE NEW EXECUTIVE President of our organization, Thomas Heine-Geldern, said he intends to continue his predecessor’s approach—which includes trusting in God for the success of the organization’s mission.

Aid to the Church in Need, which supports the suffering and persecuted Church, has a new leader at the helm: Thomas Heine-Geldern
Mr. Thomas Heine-Geldern

The appointment of Mr. Heine-Geldern, who previously served as president of the board of our Austrian office, was publicly announced during a ceremony held at our international headquarters in Königstein, near Frankfurt, Germany. Paying tribute to outgoing Executive President Baron Johannes Heereman von Zuydtwyck, Mr. Heine-Geldern said his predecessor’s “faith, drive, cheerful equanimity and trust in God” will be a model for his leadership of the organization.

In his brief address, Mr. Heine-Geldern spoke about the “role of Aid to the Church in Need as a bridge of love and prayer,” describing how the charity unites the worldwide community of benefactors and its project partners in more than 140 countries. Mr. Heine-Geldern stressed that this means each donor can be a partner in evangelization while continuing to live their everyday life.

He said that faith and professionalism are the tools the charity must use to pursue its objective: “to act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.” He described the organization as a family, referring to how the 23 national offices work closely with the international headquarters in Königstein.

Mr. Heine-Geldern emphasized our work in the Middle East. In 2014, he travelled to Iraq with then- Executive President Heereman, shortly after ISIS forced Christians on the Nineveh Plains to flee from their homes. Following the exodus, our organization has provided more than $50M for emergency aid, pastoral assistance and reconstruction projects in Iraq. Mr. Heine-Geldern said it was a sign of providence that he has just returned from another trip to Iraq right before taking up his new position.

At the ceremony, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, President of our organization, thanked Baron Heereman for his seven years as Executive President. During his term in office, the organization—which was founded 70 years ago by Father Werenfried van Straaten, the “bacon priest”—was named a pontifical foundation by Pope Benedict XVI. In addition, six new national offices were founded and donations rose to close to $150M per year.

Mr. Heine-Geldern said he inherits a well-organized organization, expressing his hope that, with advice from his predecessor and the help of employees from the headquarters and national offices, he will be able to maintain the charity’s high level of achievement. The new executive president, 66, is fluent in English and French—as well as his native German—and has held seats on the boards of a number of companies. He received a doctorate in Law from the University of Vienna and an M.B.A. from the business school of INSEAD (Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires) in Fontainebleau, near Paris. He has been married for more than 40 years and has four children.

Jürgen Liminski