Aid to the Church in Need (AIN) is a foundation that depends directly on the Holy Father whose mission is to help pastorally in 150 countries of the world where the Church is in need; in countries that are very poor and suffer persecution.
AIN was born in the year 47, after World War II, when Pius XII shouted at the world saying; “We have to help the refugees.” These refugees that Pius XII spoke of were the 13 million Germans who had been deported from East Germany to the West and were roaming Germany in subhuman conditions ; They lived in the bunkers of war and among them there were 3000 priests who were also in a Germany that was not Catholic, but Protestant, with a certain tension, postwar, destroyed cities … the people couldn’t help them much either.
Then a Dutch priest, Father Werenfried Van Straaten, took up this call and began to preach through the towns of Belgium and the Netherlands to ask for help for these refugees. The meaning of this help is not simply a material sense, but he speaks from reconciliation, from forgiveness. He is asking for help for the enemies – the Germans had been during the war the enemies of the Dutch and the Belgians – and he explains that he went to the churches and asked for help, but always with forgiveness and told them; “ it is very easy to say, yes, yes, we forgive them, but since they are far away, true forgiveness, to demonstrate true forgiveness, is to help them, to help them materially “. But in that post-war era, what could they help them with? And it occurred to him to ask for the bacon slices, which in northern Europe they smoke and which houses had them hung on the chimneys. And that’s what he asked for, slices of bacon. He says that at first he was very afraid because he thought they would even beat him when he went to the churches, but no one answered. Then, sneakily at night, the women would drop off slices of bacon and he filled trucks and trucks with bacon. From that moment on, Father Werenfried Van Straaten was known as Father “Bacon.” And so begins a story of forgiveness.
Then the years passed and they began to help all of Eastern Europe that was behind the Iron Curtain and then the Popes already asked to extend the aid to the rest of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Today AIN has projects in 150 countries in the world and helps nuns, priests and missionaries so that they can carry out their work supporting cloistered convents, priests, with vehicles (from a boat to a donkey for the Andes, a 4×4, a motorcycle, a bicycle …) with the media and exceptionally in cases of extreme persecution and cataclysms.
It always works through the local Church of the country -the bishops and priests-, which is the most efficient way because they really know what the needs are, who are there always, before, during and after. It is very nice to see the communion of the whole Church.
All this work would not be possible without AIN volunteers. It can be helped in many ways. First with prayer, praying for all these Christian brothers of ours. Afterwards, publicizing the situation, through www.ayudaalaiglesianecesitales.org. ”. Also being a donor of time. And then with charity, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta said “ give until it hurts” . We have testimonies from people who cannot donate more than 5 euros a month , a small amount, but let us know that everything adds up and in these countries of need the standard of living is different and money multiplies and is a very nice way to collaborate, and really in AIN it does not receive subsidies or aid from any government or public entity. They are a legion of good souls, of little benefactors who are helping and this is very nice to see. I remember the case of a lady who had just retired and her first pension was for AIN, for those brothers who need it. Many times here we create needs for ourselves and we forget what is essential.
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