ACN, Montreal, September 30, 2013 – On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth year of Father Werenfried van Straaten, founder of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the international Catholic pastoral charity has organized a pilgrimage to Rome. Six hundred benefactors, friends and staff from around the world will travel to Italy’s capital city from October 1st to the 5th.
On October 2nd, Pope Francis will welcome the participants in a General Audience. Meetings with Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and with Mons. Hon Tai-Fai Savio, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, are also planned.
Father Werenfried van Straaten was born on January 17, 1913, in Mijdrecht near Amsterdam (Netherlands). In 1934 he entered the Flemish Norbertine abbey of Tongerlo (Belgium). At Christmas 1947, concerned about the suffering of the 14 million refugees in post-war Germany, including some six million Catholics, he wrote in his abbey’s magazine calling for help for the Germans expelled from the East. This set a wave of aid in motion that led to the founding of “Kirche in Not/Ostpriesterhilfe”. In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI granted the charity the status of a Pontifical Foundation.