Information reaching the office of the RECONACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA has it that Africa Received Most of 2023 Aid to the Church in Need International Funding. Report reaching the Director of RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY Correspondent based at the city of the Vatican narrated that in the year 2023, Africa received the biggest chunk of support from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, a Catholic charity foundation that supports the suffering Church all over the world.

In a report published Thursday, June 20 detailing how the money collected last year was used, the charity foundation indicates that at over 30 percent, Africa was the biggest beneficiary of the foundation’s support.

“At the regional level, Africa received the most support, with almost a third of resources, or 31.4 percent, set aside for projects in the continent,” ACN says, adding that among the main beneficiary countries in Africa were the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

In the report, the Catholic charity foundation however clarifies that in terms of aid to specific countries, Ukraine, Syria and Lebanon benefited the most from the foundation in 2023.

The Executive President of ACN International, Regina Lynch, links the huge support the foundation sent to Africa to the continent’s large Catholic population.

“Africa is home to approximately one in every five Catholics, one in every eight priests, one in every seven female religious, and almost a third of seminarians in the world,” Lynch has been quoted as saying.

Besides, she explains, “the spread of terrorism and Islamic extremism in some countries, especially in the Sahel region, are a cause of great suffering and pain for Christians in this continent.”

ACN raised a sum of 143.7 million Euro of donations from its hundreds of thousands of benefactors during 2023. The foundation notes that the value, along with 0.8 million Euros of reserves from the previous year, allowed it to fund activities worth 144.5 million Euros.

“The generosity of almost 360,000 benefactors in the 23 countries where ACN has national offices, among others, continue to allow ACN to function without any financial support from governments or ecclesial bodies,” the foundation reported. In a message to the ACN benefactors, Lynch, described the huge donations as “a true miracle.”

Out of the amount that ACN raised, the charity provided about 1.75 million Mass stipends to 40,767 Priests in 2023. “Statistically, this means that one in every 10 priests in the world received support from ACN and that every 18 seconds a Mass was celebrated somewhere around the world for the intentions of ACN benefactors,” the charity says in the report published June 20.

ACN also supported the formation of almost 11,000 Seminarians during 2023, which accounts for one in every 10 Seminarians in the world.

At 5,793, most of the Seminarians that ACN supported were in Africa, which according to the pontifical charity foundation, “is now home to the highest number of priestly vocations in the world.”

Globally, ACN’s support for the formation of Priests, women, and men Religious and laypeople represented 26.7 percent of all the support, whereas Mass stipends and subsistence aid for women Religious amounted to 21.6 percent.

“In 2023, there were almost one thousand construction projects, one-third of which involved churches and chapels. The remaining amount went to the renovations of convents, seminaries, parish houses, and pastoral centers,” the charity reported, adding that Africa was the region with the most construction projects, with 36.2 percent of all funds going to this purpose. Africa also received funds to facilitate the transport of pastoral agents in carrying out their apostolates.

ACN also gave out emergency aid amounting to 11 percent of expenses, which in 2023, went to more countries than before, including to the Holy Land, where it says that “recent conflict has had such a serious adverse effect on the Christian population.”

Meanwhile, in the report, the international charity foundation pledges to “step up” help to the persecuted church in Africa.

“In 2024 our focus is tending to shift towards the need of pastoral accompaniment and support for people in war zones or facing persecution, who have suffered deep trauma as a result. This is an area where we hope to further intensify our help,” Lynch is quoted as saying.

She adds, “We also want to step up our help in the Sahel region, where jihadist terrorism is spreading and where Christians are facing increasing suffering from the violence.”

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu