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Lent is a time of spiritual challenge, uniting our own sacrifices with Christ’s life-giving and eternal Sacrifice.

But whatever we ‘give up’ this Lent, please... Don’t Give Up on Them!

With an end to armed conflict on the horizon in Syria and Iraq, it is easy to assume that the worst is over, but for displaced families still living under threat of violence, and unable to return to their homes, the harsh reality is that daily life is still a struggle for survival.

These families have had to give up everything for their faithfulness to Christ, so this Lent we are asking parishes, schools and groups, once again, to support refugee families in Syria and Iraq with Survival Packs – emergency aid to help them until it is safe for them to rebuild their lives and communities

We ask for prayers for the huge numbers of forgotten Christians in Africa, where growing Islamisation is leaving them vulnerable to targeted attacks and to displacement on a huge scale, such as in Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria and Central Africa Republic, where Christians rely on the Church for basic essentials and for spiritual support and comfort.

How you can help?

This Lent you can help support displaced families who have lost everything with a Survival Pack.

Survival Pack  include the essentials they need to survive - Food, Water, clothing and shelter.  

A £38 survival pack
can help
support a family for 1 week

A £166 survival pack
can help
support a family for 1 month


A £500 survival pack
can help
support a family for 3 month



Prayer and reflections materials, Lent 2017

Join us in prayer this Lent, and remember Christians around the world persecuted for their faith.

Each week's prayer material will focus on a country where the Faithful are suffering.  

First Sunday of Lent
Sunday 5th March

Second Sunday of Lent
Sunday 12th March

Third Sunday of Lent
Sunday 19th March

Fourth Sunday of Lent
Sunday 26th March

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Sunday 2nd April

Sixth Sunday of Lent
Sunday 9th April

Latest Syria report
'Please don't give up on Aleppo'

ACN's John Pontifex reports back from the Syrian city besieged for four years: 

THOUSANDS upon thousands of people in the bomb-blasted city of Aleppo depend on you, the friends of Aid to the Church in Need, for their every need – food, shelter, medicine and clothes. Your prayers, your compassion and your commitment to their pastoral needs have got them through what has been described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Barely two weeks aft er a ceasefire that finally brought a halt to the fighting, a team from ACN went into the city. We found families in shelters and in devastated homes – people who had been fed and housed thanks to your compassion and generosity.

Download here our latest report on the humanitarian situation in Syria. 

A Message for Lent

Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Ecclesiastical Assistant

The symbol of the cross - an image we all know so well – and which, even in a much less explicitly religious country such as ours, one which is still all around us. As we enter the season of Lent as supporters of Aid to the Church in Need the cross comes more closely into view in our daily lives. As we turn our gaze to the cross in our prayer, fasting and works of charity we unite ourselves more closely with Christ through sharing, in however small a way it might seem, in his eternal sacrifice. And in turning to the cross and placing it at the centre of our lives we are called also to place the suffering Church centre stage. Whatever we give up this Lent, however much we sacrifice, let us remember not to give up on them. When we look at Christ on the cross may we be united with those who need our prayers, our solidarity, our support.

So the message from Aid to the Church in Need this Lent is not to give up on them. That’s why in these pages you will find plenty of information reminding us of the sheer scale of need of those living on the brink in places where persecution of Christians and other religious minorities is still rife. This is certainly still the case in Syria and Iraq where, with the growth of hard-line Islamic extremism, people are fleeing terror as the refugee crisis reaches breaking point.

In September 2016 I had the privilege of travelling to northern Iraq on an Aid to the Church in Need Project Trip. The message we received there, however, was not a message of despair but of hope built on an ancient and solid faith. That is why we must not give up on them. Indeed they show us how the cross leads us not to despair but to hope and faith.

It was a great privilege to participate in the ordination of Fr Martin Banni, a 25 year old man from the village of Karamalesh. Martin was already well into his training for the priesthood when on the night of 6th/ 7th August 2014 Da'esh moved in. He took his few belongings and fled to Ankawa where he continued his formation. Archbishop Warda of Erbil told us afterwards ninety per cent of the congregation were crying as Martin was ordained. The tears, a close family member told us later, were not just for her brother but for the people Martin has chosen to stay with and to serve in their suffering. Fr Martin wants to return to serve in Mosul after its liberaton from Da’esh: “I want to serve Christ…to give hope and charity for my people”, he says on his ordination card.

Then we met Hannah and her young family of seven, living in a 2-roomed pre-fab hut in Ashty 2 Camp. They had been in the camp for a year and 4 months and they want to go back to Qaraqosh, now completely taken over by Da’esh. But they don't know how they will feel safe there. Hannah’s two boys, one in his late teens and one in his mid twenties, speak brilliant English. They are bright personable young men. They should have a bright future in any civilised society. But their education has been completely disrupted; their futures completely uncertain. Nevertheless, they want to stay in the region. This is their home. This is their hope built on a solid faith.

But the Middle East is only one part of the world where Christians are still under persecution. When we look at Christ on the cross we are drawn also to think of other parts of the world where persecution shows no sign of abating: parts of Africa, Pakistan, Ukraine, to name but a few. In our Reports you will find reference to individual stories of horrendous evil against Christians targeted solely because of their faith.

When we gaze on the cross we are naturally challenged to wonder what we can do to help? But we need not despair. So many of those whom we help have this solid faith and teach us how to hope. They speak to us of what the cross is really about. They teach us what the Christian and Catholic faith is all about. So this Lent may we be strengthened in hope through our response in our prayers, in our growing awareness of the situation of persecuted Christians throughout the world, through our action for them.