Dear Friend of ACN,
Recently, Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil wrote to me from Iraq: “In these past years our people have been promised many things by many people, but those who actually stayed on our side and delivered on their promises are but very few. I am most grateful to you and your office for being among these few, and I pray in fullest thankfulness for this.”
This tribute is just one of many testimonials we regularly receive from our project partners around the world. Thanks to your unflagging generosity in 2018, Aid to the Church in Need was able to fund more than 5,000 projects to support our suffering brothers and sisters in 139 countries.
Last year, the Middle East remained a top priority. Your gifts enabled us to continue providing critical support to meet the ongoing needs of persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria.
Eight years of war in Syria have caused immense suffering: 1,700 Christians were murdered; 677 were abducted; more than 1,250 Christian churches and other Church properties were destroyed, and 9,800 Christian homes were damaged, many beyond repair. Thanks to you, $9.8M in projects brought hope to thousands of Syrian Christian families who continue to rely on the local Church for food, medical care and housing. In Iraq, our aid totaled $7.4M, much of it for the reconstruction of Christian homes and churches in the aftermath of the defeat of ISIS.
In 2018, your gifts strengthened Catholic communities around the world:
- In Africa, we funded more than $23M in projects to support the youngest and fastest-growing Church in the world that is facing poverty and radical Islam. In India, your help made possible $5.9M in aid for a Christian community that continues to suffer from a rise in violent Hindu extremism.
- Both in Africa and India, despite the difficulties, vocations abound, with hundreds of priests ordained each year, and many young women choosing religious life to serve their communities. Our programs focused on their formation, with special emphasis on human maturity and spirituality.
- We gave $3.7M in aid to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which continues to play a crucial role in providing pastoral, humanitarian and social care to a nation still trapped in a bitter conflict with Russia.
Thank you for your extraordinary moral and financial support. You are the foundation on which we, together, build bridges of faith, hope and charity. Please know that you are in the prayers of those whose lives you have touched.
George J. Marlin