International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has launched a worldwide campaign that calls on the faithful to help the sick and suffering around the world with acts of charity.

During a press conference which took place in Rome, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis is supporting the charity organization's work. "I trust Aid to the Church in Need, a Pontifical Charity, to do works of Mercy all over the world," said the Pope in a video message recorded April 3rd, Sunday of Divine Mercy.

"It is an exceptional act of support in which we rejoice!" declared Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).  "The Pope has entrusted us with a mission, to be bearers of Mercy." "What it means for our work, is to be present for our project partners in over 140 countries.  For those who are developing pastoral projects; processes of reconciliation in Central African Republic, for example. Or to give support to religious communities who, along with nourishing the homeless, accompany these people simply by being present, as some do in Columbia."

These last few years, local Churches are also called to respond to the most urgent needs in war torn situations and conflicts around the world. Whether in South-Sudan or in Lebanon, "Over there, the refugees are supported by Catholic religious communities.  The number of projects in this area has been explosive for a few years now," said Ms. Lalonde

Being  "God's caress" 

The 22 ACN national offices around the world are participating in Pope Francis' call. "I invite all of you, along with Aid the Church in Need, to do acts of Mercy, but work which will remain, a work of Mercy which is permanent," said Pope Francis.

"Here in Canada, we will broadcast visual clips on Salt and Light Television as well as capsules on Radio VM.  We hope that people will respond in great numbers!" indicated Marie-Claude Lalonde. "Moreover, people can refer to the website made for the occasion, where you can view the Pope's message and become better acquainted with the work supported by ACN around the world.''

As he concludes his message, the Pope surprisingly asserts the following : "Thank you for all that you do.  And do not be afraid of Mercy: Mercy, is God's caress."

A phrase which "inspires" considers the National Director. "Giving as way to become "God's caress" in the world, some might find this pretentious. On the contrary, I think that this speaks to the adage which says that we must be the hands of God on earth."

In 2015, 6,209 projects were supported in 146 countries for a total of over 159 million Canadian dollars.

Aid to the Church in Need Canada is already open to receiving donations for this special campaign, destined among others for projects in Central African Republic, Lebanon, India and Columbia.

To give, please call: 514-932-0552, toll free 1-800-585-6333, Extension 222.
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