Letters of thanks from all over the world.
“Gratitude is the only worthy answer to a gift from God” – these are the words a priest from Brazil used to express his thanks for the aid granted by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The international Catholic pastoral charity is currently receiving dozens of letters of thanks similar to his from all over the world. More than anything, the letters make one thing clear: the aid provided by ACN makes a difference.
In the tropical jungle of Papua New Guinea nerves of steel are a necessity – as is a sturdy vehicle. This is why Father Martin Prado from Vanimo is so excited about the Land Cruiser purchased using funds donated by the benefactors of ACN. “We are setting up the first parishes in this area. We already have seven new communities. We have built and consecrated churches for them, very simple and modest buildings, but beautiful in the eyes of God.” The first mission station for Vamino and environs was established only in 1936, which means that the priest is still laying the basic groundwork there. “We teach the faithful everything, from the sign of the cross to the meaning of the Holy Sacrament of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist… All of this, I assure you, would be very difficult or even impossible to accomplish without the vehicle that ACN helped us purchase.”
The challenges that Christians face on the African continent are particularly manifold. The religious sisters of the convent Notre Dame du Sacré-Cœur in Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who work locally as nurses, suffered quite a number of attacks this past year. As the convent was not sufficiently protected, marauding bandits were able to break into the convent at night. This has made Sister Philomène Iketa all the more grateful for the funds the convent has received from ACN to build a fence around the convent to protect them from these kinds of crimes. “When we knocked on your door, you responded generously. We pray that Our Lord will help your noble mission bear fruit so that you may continue to support God’s people who are living in need all over the world.”
Meanwhile, Arthur Blanchard Ngono from the neighbouring country of Cameroon has also expressed his gratitude. One of 25 seminarians in the diocese of Kribi, the support provided by ACN has made it possible for him to continue his priestly formation. “You helped us during economically very difficult times. However, I not only wish to express my thanks for the financial aid you sent us during the economic crisis called forth by the COVID 19 pandemic, but also because you convey a message. This message is always about bearing the burden of those who are weak. This lesson has been indelibly imprinted on my memory and gives me a selfless vision of the priesthood from this point onward.”
In the parish of Santo Antonio in Tanquinho, Brazil, Father Leomário Goncalves dos Santos is grateful for the gift of 1,040 ACN children’s Bibles in Portuguese. He had originally made completely different plans. “It was our dream that each resident of our city would have their own Bible. But God showed us a more beautiful way, one that begins with the evangelisation of children, adolescents, young people and, ultimately, also their families.” He added, “Gratitude is the only worthy answer to a gift from God.”
The aid that ACN was able to grant parishes all over the world was received with particular joy and gratitude during this very challenging year. The many letters of thanks are a powerful incentive to continue with this important work in the years to come.