Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has announced that it will open new offices in Mexico and South Korea later this year.
ACN’s presence in both countries, including its first in Asia, means that the charity will have 19 national offices dedicated to encouraging prayer for suffering Christians, raising awareness of their plight and collecting donations in support of the charity’s mostly pastoral projects around the world.
The charity is also strengthening its connections with benefactors in Malta by staging a conference there on religious freedom.
Commenting on the new offices planned for Mexico and South Korea, Baron Johannes Heereman, the Executive President of ACN, stated, “Further countries can contribute to the expansion of ACN’s commitment to its service to the evangelizing, needy and persecuted Church.”
“On the initiative and with the assistance of our office in Madrid, we have decided to make a start in Mexico.”
“And, with the agreement of the local Bishops’ Conference, we have also decided on South Korea because it is an economically developed country in which the Catholic Church is growing, and because to date we have absolutely no representation in Asia.”
The preparations for the new offices are in full swing and both are scheduled to open in the second half of 2014.
Baron Heereman said, “Our Spanish colleagues advocated the opening of an office in Mexico because our charity receives many communications and requests from that country.”
The Executive President added that the preparations are now reaching their conclusion following the agreement of the Archbishops of Mexico and Guadalajara in the country’s Jalisco state.
He pointed out that legal questions are still being clarified and that staff recruitment is underway.
ACN’s existing national offices are in different countries across Europe as well as in Australia, Canada, the U.S., Brazil and Chile.
Building on the close contacts it has built up with benefactors there, the UK office, based in Sutton, is supporting the charity’s development in Malta.
An ACN congress on international religious freedom will be held in Malta on May 12th, 2014, in the presence of the President of ACN, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.
The conference will bring together benefactors and supporters from Malta and from around the world to hear expert speakers on the challenges of persecution and oppression of Christians in the Middle East and parts of Africa.
ACN, which was founded by the late Dutch Norbertine priest Father Werenfied van Straaten, has supported the Church in need for more than 65 years.
Pope Benedict XVI named ACN a Pontifical Foundation in 2011.
The charity receives no public or Church funds for its work and is dependent on the generosity of donors. The work of ACN is supported by 600,000 benefactors around the world.
Last year the charity supported more than 5,000 projects in 130 countries around the world.
Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.