INTERNATIONAL: Charity raises £121 million to help Christians in need

Regina Lynch at the opening of the new ACN national office in Slovakia in 2017.
Regina Lynch at the opening of the new ACN national office in Slovakia in 2017.

Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) completed 5,573 projects in 138 countries last year, according to figures just out.

The international organisation committed to supporting persecuted and other suffering Christians received donations and legacies from almost 360,000 benefactors in 23 countries.

In total, around the world the charity raised £121.5 million (€143.7m), receiving no support from governments.

The “numbers reflect a true miracle”, according to Regina Lynch, ACN (International) Executive President.

Ms Lynch said: “From a purely human perspective, one cannot commit to helping without having first secured funds, but since we believe in divine providence, we have been doing so since 1947.

“Therefore, this yearly activity report is, above all, an opportunity to give thanks to God.”

Dr Caroline Hull, ACN (UK) National Director, said: “Our loyal benefactors in the UK have contributed substantially to these fantastic results by funding 250 projects in 68 countries.”

Dr Hull added: “Our support here at home is growing year by year, and being part of an international Catholic effort to support the suffering and persecuted Church is truly cherished by our benefactors, volunteers, trustees and the ACN team.

“It is a privilege to work with the worldwide ACN community to create positive change for our brothers and sisters who suffer for their Christian faith.”

Ukraine, Syria and Lebanon were the beneficiaries of the most assistance from ACN, while as a continent, Africa received the greatest amount of support in 2023.

Ms Lynch said: “Africa is home to approximately one in every five Catholics…

“The spread of terrorism and Islamic extremism in some countries, especially in the Sahel region, are a cause of great suffering and pain for Christians in this continent.”

The charity provided almost 1.75 million Mass stipends to 40,767 priests and supported the formation of up to 11,000 seminarians last year.

More than a quarter of the funds were spent on construction projects, such as the building and renovation of churches, convents, seminaries and pastoral centres.

Emergency aid accounted for 11 percent of the funds distributed by the charity, including in the Holy Land, and about 10 percent was used to provide transportation for Church personnel.

Ms Lynch concluded: “We also want to step up our help in the Sahel region, where jihadist terrorism is spreading and where Christians are facing increasing suffering from the violence.”