Aid to the Church in Need breaks records in 2021, thanks to legacies

The generosity of the benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) with the most persecuted and poorest Church in the world continues to grow. In 2021 the pontifical foundation raised €18.68 million in Spain, of which 30 % came from bequests, and its total income grew by 37.3 %.

Francisco Otamendi-June 21, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes

Photo: ACN ©Ismael Martínez

The benefactors of ACN supported with €13.03 million in donations in 2021, an increase of 10.3 % over what was achieved in 2020 (€11.81 million). And at the wish of these benefactors, 11.2 % of the total donations went to defray Mass stipends for priests in need, with €1.45 million.

In the past year, a total of 21,592 benefactors have supported Christians suffering the greatest hardship in the world, despite the inconvenience of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We thank God for a year of many fruits and we hope to reach more projects and more people who need our help," said Javier Menéndez Ros, director of ACN Spain.

Ukraine is one of the countries most helped by ACN, and as a result of the war, our bond is and will be much stronger", added Javier Menéndez Ros, providing data and dates that he reported on. Omnes.

ACN: 5,298 projects in 132 countries

"Last year, the ratio of expenses over income in keeping with the mission of this institution was 8.4 %, so that 91.6 % of the funds obtained were destined to the organization's purposes: information, dissemination and to be a bridge of charity and prayer between our donors and the poor and persecuted churches. 

In total, ACN worldwide has supported 5,298 projects in 132 countries, with 347,000 benefactors in the world, almost 5,300 pastoral and emergency projects funded, and 1,181 dioceses helped, one in three dioceses, and one in eight priests worldwide, reported Antonio Sainz de Vicuña, president of ACN Spain.

All the financial income that comes in is thanks to private donations from individuals and/or institutions that have placed their trust in ACN's work, since the foundation does not receive any public aid or subsidies, recalled Javier Menéndez Ros. ACN's financial statements are audited by Crowe, which has expressed a favorable opinion.

Africa, Asia and Oceania, Middle East...

By region, Africa ("where jihadism is advancing") stands out, receiving 30.7% of project aid, followed by Asia and Oceania, with 22.3%.

In the Middle East (16.9%), ACN continued to support especially Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, where it has financed projects aimed at helping Christians to remain in their homelands despite persecution, war and economic crises. This was followed by Eastern Europe, with 15.2%, and Latin America, with 13.8%.

In keeping with ACN's pastoral mission, funding included the training of future priests and religious, means of locomotion - for example, off-road cars or boats for remote parishes - and the construction and renovation of churches. Last year, ACN financed the purchase of 1,338 vehicles and supported 949 construction and reconstruction projects for churches, convents, pastoral centers and seminaries. 

Support for one in eight priests

Another significant source of assistance is for priests serving in communities without financial means. Thus, a total of 52,879 priests from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East received assistance in the form of Mass stipends.

This means that one in eight priests worldwide benefited from this aid, but also that every 15 seconds a Mass was celebrated somewhere in the world for the intentions of ACN's benefactors.

In addition, ACN financed the formation of 13,381 future priests. Since 2004, the pontifical foundation has supported 237,353 seminarians, and has carried out projects, as reported, in a total of 1,181 dioceses.

"From Albania to Zimbabwe, ACN continues to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of Christians around the world. These communities are a source of inspiration to us in the way they live their faith despite the economic poverty, hardship and often persecution they face. Thanks to the enormous generosity and help of our benefactors, we are able to support and sustain them materially," explained Antonio Sainz de Vicuña.

"Last year we were deeply conscious of the action of Divine Providence, which, in the midst of growing global uncertainty, opened the hearts of our benefactors even more," said Sainz de Vicuña.

The effects of the pandemic in many developing countries demanded "a forceful response" from ACN International, according to ACN officials.

9.7 million euros were invested in Covid-related projects from the 2021 budget. India, which has been particularly hard hit by the virus, tops the list with more than 12 million euros in terms of the total amount of projects financed. The Asian country is followed by UkraineLebanon, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Brazil, Iraq and Nigeria, among others.

Javier Menéndez Ros gave special thanks to ACN's 200 volunteers in 32 Spanish cities, 22 of which have physical delegations, and to the employees.

Finally, he referred to the "spiritual part", to the prayer vigils, which have given a voice to people from persecuted countries, and to the thanksgiving for the 75th anniversary of the founding of ACN in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, a Dutch Premonstratensian monk.

ACN is currently headquartered in Königstein, Germany.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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