Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will help 3000 young Egyptians to meet Pope Francis in Cairo

Königstein, 13.04.2017 .- 3000  young people from all over the country will pilgrimage to Cairo to take part at Pope Francis´ visit 28th and 29th April to Egypt. The journey will start Tuesday 25th of April and will include liturgy celebrations in different shrines on the way to Cairo, celebration of masses and confessions, as well a visit to hospitals and shelters in Cairo the day previous to the arrival of the Holy Father. The group gathers 250 representatives from each Catholic diocese of Egypt besides 1000 participants from Cairo itself. “The visit of His Holiness presents a huge importance for our faithful people, evermore, for the Egyptian community with all its different groups”, writes Father Hani Bakhoum Kiroulos, Vice President of the coordinating committee of the visit to ACN. The international foundation is one of the supporters of the pilgrimage. Pointing out the importance crucial role of the youth for the future of the country he remarks: “It is important to seek strong reasons for life and hope, especially in the current circumstances we are undergoing in Egypt. Many young people have the desire to participate in the huge event; therefore we want to give them the chance of a good preparation”. Johannes Heereman von Zuydtwyck, Executive President of “Aid to the Church in Need” emphasizes the significance of the visit for the country: “As a Pontifical Foundation, seeking to sustain our brothers and sisters who are persecuted or in need because of their faith, I think it is of high importance that we offer our concrete help for the visit of the Holy Father to Egypt. This country which is constantly named in the Holy Scripture, which is testimony of the life of so many martyrs and where Christ´s parents found shelter while fleeing from Herod, is becoming a center of persecution and suffering. In order to help Christians persevere in their faith and in unity to the Holy Father, ACN supports young Christians to participate in the encounter and in the visit itself.” The visit will include a meeting with His Holiness Pope Tawadros, the Pope of Alexandria for the Coptic Orthodox, highlighting the importance of the fraternity between the Coptic Orthodox and the Catholic Church. A key moment for the current situation – not just in the country itself but in the whole geographic area – is the planned visit to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, as well as the speeches of the Imam and the Pope to the participants in the international conference of peace. For this reasons and taking into consideration the importance for these encounters – especially after the horrible attacks to the Christian Orthodox Coptic community on Palm Sunday – Heereman encourages people to support the Holy Father´s visit to Egypt with prayers: “Together with our financial support we will launch a prayer action in the social media to accompany this important visit of the Holy Father. ‘Pope of peace in Egypt of peace’ is the slogan of Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt. It sounds tragically just a few days after two mortal explosions hit Coptic Christian churches, but we have to keep praying for this peace. Dialogue among groups of different religions to avoid further isolate extremism and violence is needed. We also want to pray for the security and safety of the Holy Father and all participants. Finally, like Pope Francis requested, we should not forget to pray for the dead and the injured, for the family members and to the entire community.” The Pope’s last visit to Egypt was in February 2000 when Pope John Paul II visited the country including Cairo and Sinai.  
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Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organization for war refugees and recognized as a papal foundation since 2011, ACN is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, through information, prayer and action, wherever they are persecuted or oppressed or suffering material need. ACN supports every year an average of 6000 projects in close to 150 countries, thanks to private donations, as the foundation receives no public funding.