Norfolk parishes to give to Syria and homeless
Norfolk parishes across the RC Diocese of East Anglia are being asked to raise money for two Christian charities in their Lenten offerings this year. The two chosen charities are Aid to the Church in Need and the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
Aid to the Church in Need is a Pontifical Foundation of the Catholic Church, supporting the Catholic faithful and other Christians where they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.
Working with local bishops, priests and Sisters in more than 140 countries around the world, it supports over 5,000 projects each year – from helping build churches to printing children's Bibles.
Christians in Marmarita (pictured above), one of the largest villages in Syria's Valley of the Christians, are receiving priority help from Aid to the Church in Need as they escape there from conflict-ridden Homs.
"Because of the street fighting, thousands upon thousands of families have left their homes to take refuge elsewhere," writes a priest, who cannot be named for security reasons. "But thanks to you, we are able to offer emergency support for families – children's education, trauma counselling, food supplies, shelter, bedding and kitchen utensils."
Operating out of a centre in Marmarita where the aid is coordinated, teams of volunteers reach out to displaced people, assessing their needs and providing help.
The St Vincent de Paul Society is an international Christian voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage by providing practical assistance to those in need – irrespective of ideology, faith, ethnicity, age or gender.
The Society is running a Lenten initiative called Forty Days, which is seeking to help homeless young people across England and Wales.
Bishop Alan Hopes said: “Aid to the Church in Need provides much needed money for persecuted Christian refugees and the St Vincent de Paul Society helps homeless young people in England and Wales.
“Both charities live out the corporal works of mercy in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and giving shelter to those in need. Every parish is being asked to raise money for these two worthy charities, everything raised will be divided equally between them.”