HISTORY OF AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED

The sickly young novice of 1934 had transformed into a brilliant organiser, a powerful public speaker and a highly successful popular missioner. He was making as many as 90 church appeals a month and cheerfully acknowledged begging to be his true vocation. Even in his old age occasionally he sat after Mass at the back of the church with his worn-out "Hat of Millions", collecting money for the cause.

17309In 1953 Fr Werenfried's small handwritten newsletter, the "Mirror" first appeared. Today this bi-monthly bulletin around 700,000 copies are published in seven languages. 

In 1956, during the Hungarian Uprising, Father Werenfried travelled to Budapest and met Cardinal Mindszenty, who had just been released from prison. It was the start of a flood of aid for the Church in Hungary.

In 1959 Father Werenfried travelled through Asia, visiting the refugee areas and meeting Mother Teresa in her "House of the Dying" in Calcutta.

In 1960 his first book was published, "They call me the Bacon Priest".

In 1962 Father Werenfried attended the second Vatican Council in Rome as a "peritus",(expert). There he met 60 bishops from the Iron Curtain countries who were directly or indirectly receiving help from ACN.

16960In 1965, during the Simba Uprising, Father Werenfried visited the Belgian Congo (now Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo). A year later, together with the Belgian nun, Mother Hadewych, he founded the religious community "Daughters of the Resurrection". This was in some ways a unique congregation, since it was open to young African women with no formal education.

In 1969 Fr. Werenfried published his book "Where God Weeps".

After the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe the work of ACN took on a new dimension. In many countries of the former communist bloc Father Werenfried was now received with a joyful welcome. Since it became easier to help the totally destitute Church of Eastern Europe Fr Werenfried committed ACN to re-doubling its efforts to help the Church rise from the ruins and rebuild her pastoral and evangelising mission in this former communist empire.

cardinal-lubachivsky-1991On the 30th March 1991 the spiritual head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Cardinal Lubachivsky, returned home from his exile in Rome. Fr. Werenfried went with him and, in front of hundreds of thousands of the faithful, promised to help him rebuild church life there.

During all of his life a particular concern of Father Werenfried's was the support for the Ukrainian Catholic Church. This Church has been in union with Rome since 1596, however it celebrates the Liturgy according to the Eastern rite. In 1946 it was effectively abolished by the communists, who had called a fake synod, and thereby officially ceased to exist. Right up to the collapse of the Communist regime the faithful had to suffer severe reprisals and punishments, and Father Werenfried helped the Ukrainian Catholics to keep their church alive underground. Father Werenfried called his journey to Lviv "one of the happiest days" in his life.