Emergency and pastoral help totalling £5,000 is to be despatched to Syria thanks to a group of chivalric brothers and sisters in Wales who banded together one evening with their friends to raise money for suffering Christians.
The Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem Commandery of Wales held a fund-raising dinner for Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Catholic charity for persecuted Christians.
Co-hosted by the commandery and the Cardiff Oratory in Formation, about 50 people attended the event at Newman Hall, the University Catholic Chaplaincy in Cardiff.
Organised by Chevalier Dr David Woolf KCLJ, Commander of Wales, the event enjoyed the support of Father Sebastian Jones, Moderator of the Cardiff Oratory and, as well as Catholics, present were Anglicans, Russian Orthodox and members of other churches.
Before the meal, a lecture on ACN’s work was given by ACN (UK) Head of Press & Information John Pontifex, who has been to Syria four times in as many years and who has seen the charity’s work in action.
Mr Pontifex described how in Syria ACN has provided food baskets, milk, education scholarships, medicine, rent money for housing, rebuilding of homes and churches, and support for Sisters and priests.
Dr Woolf said: “People who attended the event were proud to be able to support ACN’s work.
“Supporters are very attuned to the need to help those in Syria living out their Christianity at the coalface of suffering and persecution.”
Dr Woolf highlighted the connections between Syria and the Order of St Lazarus, which is under the spiritual protection of Syria-based Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi.
The Commandery of Wales raised £3,200 for ACN at last year’s fund-raising dinner.
At each fund-raising dinner, the commandery announce the winner of a university scholarship bursary and this year’s recipient was Niamh McSwiney, who will study dermatology and cardiology at Tokyo University Women’s Hospital, in Japan.