© Aid to the Church in Need
ACN’s main focus: to care for and strengthen the people
By Reinhard Backes, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada
Montreal/Königstein – January 14, 2015 – Five years after the devastating earthquake which hit Haiti, quite a few church reconstruction projects have been completed successfully. Further measures are in the planning stage. Regina Lynch, Head of Projects at the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), commented on this by saying, “At the most recent conference of the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’ and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in Rome, it became clear that the Church’s solidarity with the Haitian people continues unbroken. The Church was able to get a lot off the ground in Haiti with outside help. Aid to the Church in Need is deeply committed as well. The main focus of our aid work is to care for and strengthen the Haitians.”
Ms Lynch described the primary work of Aid to the Church in Need to be – in addition to the reconstruction of churches and church buildings – the support of those in charge of pastoral care and care in general as well as facilitators in the dioceses such as Sisters who care for those who have been traumatized, congregations of men or women who help others cope with their daily hardships as well as priests and catechists who visit the people in refugee camps and poor districts on a daily basis to provide both spiritual and material aid. A portion of the aid money contributed by Aid to the Church in Need is used to educate and train as well as to provide for and secure the livelihood of aid workers.
According to Ms Lynch, at the Haiti conference in Rome, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of the Church’s attention being brought to every single person and also conveying the importance of the worldwide Church acting in solidarity in an effort to further strengthen local churches. During the conference, the severity of the 2010 earthquake and the extent Church aid became clear once more: According to the president of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference and bishop of Les Cayes, Cardinal Chibly Langlois, more than 230,000 people were killed, 300,000 were injured and around 1.2 million were made homeless during the natural disaster.
Currently, 200 church projects are in the planning stage. Seventy churches, chapels and schools will be reconstructed at a cost of approximately 56 million dollars; more than half of the money is already available.
Since the 2010 earthquake, Aid to the Church in Need has supported Haitian dioceses with 8 million dollars so far.