· Pope Francis’ video message for Aid to the Church in Need ·
"I want to urge all men and women of goodwill throughout the world to carry out a work of mercy in every city, in every diocese, and in every association”. This appeal was launched by Pope Francis on April 3, Divine Mercy Sunday, during his meeting with representatives of Aid to the Church in Need. On Friday morning, 17 June, the Pope received a delegation from the papal foundation, headed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, ACN’s international President, and by Philipp Ozores, General Secretary. In a video message, which he recorded in Spanish, Pope Francis says: “We, men and women, need God’s mercy, but we also need each other’s mercy. We need to take each other’s hand, caress each other, take care of each other and not wage so many wars”.
“I have here before me the dossier prepared by Aid to the Church in Need”, the Pope said, “which is a pontifical work with the goal of carrying out works of mercy throughout the world. I entrust this task to Aid to the Church in Need, and I trust that it will continue with the inherited spirit of Father Werenfried van Straaten who, in his time, had the vision to implement these gestures of closeness, proximity, kindness, love and of mercy in the world”.
“Therefore, I invite all of you”, Pope Francis urged in his message, “together with the Aid to the Church in Need, to carry out works of mercy that will last, a structure for the many needs that exist in the world today”. “Thank you for everything that you do”, the Pope concluded, “and do not be afraid of mercy: mercy is the caress of God”.
In response to this appeal, the Aid to the Church in Need has launched a series of concrete and sustainable projects. On Friday, 17 June, ACN launched their “Be God’s Mercy” campaign, which will end on 4 October, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The project was explained in a press conference at the Vatican Radio headquarters, mainly with regards to “prison ministry, rehabilitation centers, aid to refugees and support for those who have suffered violence, particularly women and children”. It is crucial, above all, to “awaken the conscience of the world”: part of this mission includes the visit of Msgr Francesco Gravina, Bishop of Carpi, to Iraqi Kurdistan with the Pope’s donation to support St. Joseph’s charity clinic, which assists nearly three thousand refugees per month. Speaking on this point was Father Imas Gargees, a Chaldean priest, who will return to help his people in Kurdistan this month after studying in Rome. In addition, Msgr Sebastian Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, spoke of “mercy and hope” in the difficult context of Pakistan, amidst violence and persecution.
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