The Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has announced a special aid package for priests and religious in Sri Lanka who are suffering the effects of the current economic crisis in the country.
The total aid package will come to US$470,000, read a report on the ACN website in the United States. During the pandemic, ACN also supported the Church in Sri Lanka with a similar emergency program for dioceses.
“The economic situation in the country is very serious,” said Bishop Valence Mendis of Kandy and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Chilaw.
“Many people are suffering lack of medicine or food. There are very long lines, miles and miles of people trying to buy fuel, gas, powdered milk, sugar, rice, medicine,” said the prelate
“Several people have died in these lines while waiting to buy basic goods. Children have died due to lack of safety at home, with their parents having to be away for so long,” he said.
ACN is a pontifical foundation that focuses on assisting the Church wherever it is persecuted, oppressed, or in material need.
The organization supports local churches, especially in those countries where the Church cannot support herself, or if so, only with great difficulty.
In a statement, ACN said the local Church in Sri Lanka is currently unable to cover its own minimum needs, let alone relieve the suffering of all those who come to it for help.
“Many people have lost their jobs, and prices have risen astronomically. People can afford virtually nothing. Our priests and religious are badly affected by the crisis,” said Bishop Mendis.
“We would appreciate it if we could receive some Mass stipends for the priests, and some financial assistance for the religious congregations at this critical time,” added the prelate.
ACN said that as an immediate response, the organization will fund a total of 19 aid projects, including Mass stipends for priests and support for religious congregations and catechists.
On Sunday, Pope Francis called on the people of Sri Lanka to continue seeking a “peaceful solution” to the country’s present political and economic crisis.
“Once again, I express my closeness to the people of Sri Lanka,” said the pope in his message after the praying of the Angelus in the Vatican on Sunday.
“Dear brothers and sisters, I join you in prayer and I urge all parties to seek a peaceful solution to the present crisis, favoring, in particular, the poorest, respecting the rights of all,” said the pontiff.
“I join the religious leaders in imploring everyone to refrain from all forms of violence and to initiate a process of dialogue for the common good,” added Pope Francis.