Sierra Leone has a long story of constant suffering, from bloody civil war and massive poverty, to the Ebola epidemic of 2014 and a string of natural disasters. Today, thanks to ACN’s benefactors, a small ray of light and hope exists.
In the Archdiocese of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, 40 priests are helping the people in all their spiritual and material needs. Many of them are working in parishes where there is neither electricity nor running water, no vehicles and no other means of communication. The archdiocese itself is very poor and already could not help its priests with all the funding they actually need, while the coronavirus has only made things worse. All public Masses have been suspended, so even the little support that came in on the collection plate has also dried up.
To compensate for the lack of public Masses, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has stepped in to help the 40 priests of the archdiocese with Mass stipends, for the entire year. The priests will celebrate these Holy Masses for the intentions of the benefactors who have made these offerings, which are a gift freely given by the faithful as a gesture of gratitude and support.
Father Emmanuel is one of the priests in Sierra Leone who have received these Mass stipends. He described the situation he was in prior to receiving aid: “Every day, during the crisis, I had to go out after Morning Prayer, working with the fishermen to earn my daily bread.”
In his letter, Father Emmanuel says, “I am so grateful for the Mass stipends you have sent us. May the Lord continue to bless you abundantly!”
For countless priests around the world, Mass Offerings are the only source of income they have.
Aid to the Church in Need forwards Mass Offerings from our benefactors to bishops and religious superiors in the countries we serve. These offerings are then distributed to local priests according to need and availability.
These priests, many whose lives are in danger each day just by living the faith, deeply appreciate the generosity of benefactors and consider it a profound honour to be celebrating Masses for their intentions.