What a sharp contrast!  In the last few days, we celebrated the joyous birth of the Saviour of the world. Today, we stand by as witnesses to the blood of the Holy Innocents who were slaughtered at the orders of King Herod, in the hope that by killing every born in Bethlehem at the same time as Jesus, he would succeed in killing the new-born King.

These martyrs reminds us of the countless martyrs including children who are killed anonymously; victims of civil wars, terrorist groups and other attacks on the persecuted Church.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari, defines the Syrian conflict as a “real massacre of innocents”. Many of them have died as a result of the bombings, some drowned in the sea, others were torn apart by explosions, suffocated by toxic gases, cut by splinters, mutilated, traumatized, sexually abused or enrolled in the military or given in early marriages to strangers.

For instance, on April 4 2017 there was a chemical attack on Khan Chikhoun (Idleb) and as many as 30 children died of suffocation. A few days later, 15 April 2017 about 70 displaced children in Rachidine near Aleppo died as a result of a car explosion. UNICEF still speaks of 2.8 Million children who are not attending school. Millions suffer from psychological disorders. Out of the 5.6 million refugees, 2.6 million are children.

During the course of the war, ACN aid reached at least 50,000 children and young people providing food baskets, milk and diapers for babies, blankets and warm clothes, shoes, medical help. From 2011 to November 2018 ACN spent almost 29.5 million Euros on 308 emergency aid projects for Syria. A number of the projects were aimed at helping children and young people traumatised by seven years of conflict and war. Examples are “Let me Live My Childhood”, “Drop of Milk Project”, “Peace for the Children”, Skype Bridge with the EU and thousands of children from other countries.

We continue to count on your support to provide hope and succour to these innocents who have become victims of a society ravaged by war.

Thank you for always supporting the Church in Need!