MANILA, Nov. 16, 2016 — A leading international Catholic charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) opens a new chapter, having inaugurated its national section in the Philippines.
Church leaders and guests gathered yesterday, Nov. 15, for a Mass presided over by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas at the Manila Cathedral, officially launching ACN Philippines.
The ACN, which supports persecuted and needy Christians around the world, inaugurated its new office located at the CBCP headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.
In his homily, prelate lauded ACN’s work for bringing both spiritual and material aid to millions of the world’s poor and raising the profile of persecuted Christians.
“For years, we have been receiving… Now, we have entered into a new chapter of being partners in working for the good of our persecuted brothers and sisters,” he said.
Founded in 1947, ACN has funded various programs in the country promoting interreligious dialogue initiatives in Mindanao, supporting humanitarian response during disasters, and other church projects.
The archbishop said ACN is not just about the Middle East, Africa or the troubled region of Mindanao. “We speak about ourselves,” he said.
“ACN is actually aid to ourselves because the whole Church is a Church in need,” said Villegas, the current CBCP president.
ACN Philippines, which is also headed by Villegas, joins 22 other ACN national fundraising offices all over the world. Its main headquarters is in Konigstein in Taunus, Germany.
Among those present during the inauguration were ACN International Executive President Baron Johannes Heereman; ACN Ecclesiastical Assistant Fr. Martin Barta; and Johannes Klausa, ACN Korea director.
The occasion also highlighted the launching of ACN’s Religious Freedom Report (RFR), which is released every three years.
The report, which provides information on the status of religious freedom in the world, is used as a resource material by governments and non-government organizations, including the United Nations. (CBCPNews)