Catholic aid group to give €5M to COVID-19 response

THE papal charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is providing €5 million or roughly P280 million in emergency funding to help mitigate the impact of coronavirus crisis in poor countries like the Philippines.

Thomas Heine-Geldern, ACN’s Executive President, said the funds will be used to support parishes and religious communities so that they would be able to continue their spiritual and social ministries, particularly to the most vulnerable communities.

ACN’s funding will be a broad-spectrum intervention, in the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, through project support.

Heine-Geldern stressed that the pandemic has increased the demand for social and spiritual care.

“It is our wish that this aid, made possible thanks to our benefactors, will help ease the burden on our courageous religious, who stand on the front lines, bringing God’s love and compassion to our suffering brothers and sisters,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Luciano, national director of ACN-Philippines, said the commitment is just an “intensification” of ACN’s funding for existential support for religious communities and parishes.

Luciano said the ACN has been a constant source of aid by poor parishes and communities of religious sisters.

“This commitment is just an intensification of that support. We are ready to support parishes and communities who were greatly affected by the lockdowns and quarantines. We are aware of the difficulties facing many parish communities and religious communities because of the quarantine and we are ready to help them,” he said.

Founded in 1947, ACN has been helping churches in difficult situations. It has been recognized as a papal foundation since 2011.