Africa is home to the fastest-growing Christian population. However, Christians in Africa are also confronted by grave threats including poverty, an epidemic of various fatal diseases, the effects of climate change and acts of terrorism by religious-extremist groups.
As we begin our observance of Lent and Holy Week, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) invites everyone to reflect on the suffering of Christ through our Christian brothers and sisters in Africa.
Each year, ACN supports more than 1,800 projects in 45 African countries. This year, in light of the rising threat of religious fundamentalism, ACN will be supporting projects that focus on interfaith dialogue and peace building. Complementary to these projects, ACN will continue to support the pastoral needs of the Church in Africa in the belief that the best investment to peace is ensuring Christ’s Gospel of Love is spread through the work of well-educated priests, nuns and catechists
As we meditate on the passion of our Savior on the Cross, let us ask him to open our eyes and see his continuous sacrifice and service through the heroism of Christians who proclaim the Gospel among the needy in regions without law and order. ACN has witnessed the testimonies of lay people, missionaries and religious on site, those who, for example, take care of refugees in South Sudan, fight against wrongful land grabs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or care for those suffering from Ebola in Sierra Leone. Many Christians have lost their lives in the name of faith, but they did so out of love for their brothers and sisters.
ACN Philippines appeals to all Filipinos to consider the Church in Africa as beneficiaries of our acts of penitence and sacrifice this Lent. Bearing in mind that by 2030, 40% of all Christians will be in Africa, our help is not just a mere humanitarian gesture, but a recognition of our responsibility as members of one community to contribute to the pastoral care of a young and emerging Church that is the hope and future of all Catholics around the world.