As part of its campaign to support priests and religious working with the weak and vulnerable in areas affected by COVID-19, Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has announced 11 new projects in Brazil which has the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world.

ACN’s aid for Brazil will provide support for 169 priests, 141 Sisters, 31 seminarians and 56 lay missionaries helping their local communities during the pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a number of parishes have collected food and other essential supplies to help the most needy.

Some parishes are providing poor families with an evening meal each day – but the money is running out.

Itapipoca diocesan treasurer Father Francisco Danízio Silva told ACN that he is counting on the kindness of the ordinary people.

He said: “During these times we are going through, the support of every individual is very important. With the little that we have we can still help many people.

He explained how with no public Masses – and no collections – the income from the faithful has fallen by around 60 percent, adding “what resources we did have are now becoming exhausted”.

Father Danizio said: “Recently we have made great efforts to raise funds, but it is now getting very difficult, since the people themselves have next to nothing.”

He said: “You, the benefactors of ACN, have helped us greatly.

“During this time, your support is directly linked to the help we can give to these brothers and sisters of ours who need so much… who need our compassion, our attention and our loving support as well.

“I pray to God, through the intercession of his most holy Mother Mary, that he may bless each and every one of you, and that your generosity will be the source of your salvation.

“May we never forget that helping our neighbour is one of the most effective ways of imitating our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.”