Year of St. Joseph: ACN supports initiative of Pope Francis
IN HONOR OF THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is highlighting the many projects it supports in Latin America, Africa, the Near East, Eastern Europe and Asia which have been dedicated to St. Joseph. One of its most recent projects involves the Jesuit-run St. Joseph’s Church in Beirut. The church sustained heavy damage during the massive explosion that occurred in the harbor of the Lebanese capital in early August 2020. In addition to the doors and windows, the roof of the 19th-century church requires extensive repairs. Father Gabriel Khayrallah, who serves in the church, stressed his community’s deep ties to St. Joseph and told ACN: “As Jesuit priests, we focus on Saint Joseph as a man of mercy and charity.”
On the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, ACN is helping to build a parish house in Betatao, which will serve as a home for the priests of the vast parish with its many outposts. In Uruguay in South America, the organization provided the funding for a van to support the parish of St. Joseph in Lavelleja, in the northern part of the country. The parish needed the vehicle to carry out social and catechism projects, some of them in very remote regions.
ACN is also helping to secure the livelihood of 56 women religious in the Diocese of St. Joseph in Russia. In the diocese located in eastern Siberia, which spans an area about the size of Canada, the work of the sisters of various communities is focused on helping street children and orphans, particularly in larger cities. One of the religious told ACN about the affinity she feels to the saint. “For me, he is a role model for hard work and holding one’s peace. He never complained when times became hard. He does not say a single word in the Gospel—even though his life was one full of hardships, just as ours.”
In the Ukraine, the organization is supporting the renovation of the convent of the sisters of the Greek Catholic Order of St. Joseph in Potelych. The sisters run an orphanage in the rundown building. The sisters wrote to ACN about their veneration of St. Joseph: “St. Joseph is the patron saint of our order. By following his virtuous example, the sisters carry out their work humbly and without expecting any reward, yet joyously for the honor of God and the good of the Church.”
For some years now, ACN has supported many other institutions and communities consecrated to St. Joseph. In late 2020, through the publication of an apostolic Letter, Patris corde, Pope Francis proclaimed 2021 the Year of St. Joseph to mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. The Year of St. Joseph ends Dec. 8, 2021, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.