By John Pontifex
leader of an international Catholic charity has welcomed the election of Pope Francis, stressing the new Pontiff’s pledge “to follow the path of brotherhood, love and faith in service of each other”. UK
Reacting to the surprise nomination of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires,
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (UK), said his appointment highlighted regions where the religion had grown and reflected Catholicism’s worldwide presence.
Commenting on the name chosen by the new Pope, Mr Kyrke-Smith described Franciscan ideals of fraternity and service and went on to speak of ACN’s commitment to solidarity with persecuted Christians.
Mr Kyrke-Smith said: “With the election of a Holy Father from Latin America, the Catholic Church publicly recognises the universality of the Church and, in particular, areas of growth in the Church outside
“The new Holy Father has pledged himself, in the footsteps of St Francis, to follow the path of brotherhood, love and faith in service of each other and the whole world.
“Relying on the compassion of the friends and benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need, we renew our commitment to help those who are oppressed and persecuted, particularly in the
Middle East and other parts of the world.”
And Johannes Freiherr von Heereman, Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need (International), said: “We thank divine providence for the new spiritual leader of the Church, the Holy Father Francis.”
He asked that God grant the new Pope “power and light”.
Promising ACN’s “loyalty and obedience” to Pope Francis, he said: “As an international Catholic pastoral charity under papal law, Aid to the Church in Need supports the Holy Father in his task of strengthening the community of faith and love throughout the world.”
Aid to the Church in Need’s links with the
were strengthened in late 2011 when Pope Benedict XVI promoted the charity to a Pontifical Foundation. Vatican
Fulfilling 5,000 projects every year across more than 130 countries, Aid to the Church in Need provides pastoral help – support for priests, seminarians, Sisters, promotion of Christian education and catechesis, Child’s Bibles, building churches and helping refugees including those fleeing violence and persecution in Syria.
In Pope Francis’s home country of Argentina, ACN has supported the country’s first ‘Farm of Hope’, a programme of pastoral and practical help for disadvantaged people and recovering addicts, as well as a continent-wide Catholic television series promoting Christian values, pastoral centres and chapels and vehicles for clergy ministering in vast and remote regions.