Additionally, the aid organization has made promises of €800,000.00 (US$883,000.00) as subsistence help to nuns in all parts of the world, Ms. Lynch says, adding that more requests for assistance are still coming in from all parts of the world.
In the interview shared with ACI Africa, Ms. Lynch observes that the work of ACN has shifted drastically from addressing general pastoral needs of the Church to addressing challenges that arise from COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are not so much hearing about medical needs but rather about the effects of the restrictions on the daily life of the Church. In most countries where Aid to the Church in Need supports the local Church, governments have applied the same restrictions as in our donor countries,” she says.
The restrictions, she says, meant no public Masses, no public gatherings, closure of schools and that more and more people are having difficulties in earning a living.
“The Church itself is hardest hit by the fact that there are no public Masses or the possibility to carry out the normal pastoral and social programs in the parishes,” Ms. Lynch says, adding that many parishes that initially relied on Sunday Mass collection to survive are now struggling.
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“The money from the collection – or often instead it can be chickens, vegetables, rice etc. – guarantees that the priest can eat, pay the sisters serving the parish, buy petrol for his motorcycle for visiting the sick or even have a small sum to help the poorest of the parishioners,” she says.
The main focus of ACN in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Ms. Lynch notes, is to ensure that lack of finances does not stand in the way of evangelization.
“In Africa, where we support different initiatives of Radio Maria, the Church is encouraging the Catholic families to become a “domestic Church” during this time of COVID-19 and to pray even more intensively together,” she says.
“As a pastoral charity, ACN wants to help the local Church carry out its primary mission of bringing God’s Love and Word to people and ensure that it is not hindered in this mission by a lack of financial resources,” she further says, adding, “That means that we are providing subsistence aid to priests and to sisters, both active and contemplative.”