A pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fátima, blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1967, was recently at the international headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in Königstein, Germany. The executive president of ACN International, Regina Lynch, stressed the connection between ACN and the message of Fátima, referring to the Virgin Mary, who appeared to shepherd children in 1917, as the organisation’s “patron saint”. 

“Dear Friends, it is with great pleasure that I present the Virgin of Fátima”, said Regina Lynch, executive president of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), during the visit of the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fátima to the headquarters of the charity in Königstein, Germany. This very image was blessed on 13 May 1967, by Pope Paul VI, on the 50th anniversary of the Fátima apparitions. 

“The origin of ACN is closely linked to the apparitions and grace of Fátima, where Our Lady chose to show the Church the path to triumph over evil in the world, through love, prayer, sacrifice and consecration to her Immaculate Heart”, the president of the international Catholic charity recalled.

This connection, Lynch observed, relates to the institution itself, but also to its staff, benefactors, friends and volunteers, as well as all those who, in one form and another, support and encourage ACN, whose goal is to help and serve Christians in need all over the world.

“She is our patron saint, the patroness of ACN, and we really rely on her blessings and intercession before God when it comes to supporting all those people who we want to help through our aid to projects, but also when it comes to helping all our benefactors, and she watches over and protects us. So, it is really a privilege to have her here today, and we should always pray and ask that she intercede on our behalf”, said Regina Lynch. 

A story that began in 1967

The connection between Our Lady of Fátima and ACN has deep roots. The message of Our Lady of Fátima left a deep impression on Father Werenfried von Straaten, who founded ACN in 1947, in the aftermath of the Second World War. On the 50th anniversary of the apparitions, in 1967, Pope Paul VI blessed several pilgrim images of Fátima, including the one which visited Königstein, and the decision was made to consecrate ACN to Our Lady of Fátima at that time. The symbolic act took place on 14 September 1967, during the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. 

Pilgrim Virgin of Our Lady of Fatima, in ACN international headquarters’ chapel. 

Every year since, ACN renews this consecration, with the Portuguese office gathering its benefactors and friends for this purpose at the Fátima Shrine. In 2017, an international pilgrimage, presided by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, brought together benefactors from all over the world to commemorate the centenary of the apparitions, as well as the 70th anniversary of ACN and the 50th anniversary of the organisation’s consecration to Mary. During a solemn event in the Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Fátima, before hundreds of benefactors and members of ACN’s national offices, the consecration of Aid to the Church in Need was repeated, and this year the words rang out again in the headquarters in Königstein, Germany, before the pilgrim image.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, look upon your children, who turn to you in prayer. You, who always said yes to God, are blessed among women. Mold our heart according to yours in the joyfulness of your spirit. To you, Mother of sorrows and Immaculate Virgin we consecrate our life and the entire Work that has been given to us to be fulfilled in serving the persecuted and threatened Church. Protect us and all who are dear to us. Protect all those who have been entrusted to us by God. Grant us your faith, your hope, your love. Take us under your protection as a Mother and always remain with us. Amen.”