HISTORY OF AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED


scannen0001-fFor Father Werenfried in particular a new chapter began in his work of reconciliation, namely the promotion of better relations between the Catholic Church in the West and her Russian Orthodox sister Church.

So it was that in 1992 he appealed for reconciliation of the divisions within Christianity and called upon Catholics to give help for their Orthodox sister Church.

Just as he had preached after the war for love for the "enemies of yesterday", so now he was preaching reconciliation and the overcoming of the schism in the Church which has lasted between East and West since 1054.

He met with Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and agreed to specific aid measures for the Russian Orthodox Church. This will later include the "chapel boats" - based on the model of the earlier "chapel trucks" - to bring the sacraments to Orthodox Christians on the vast churchless reaches of the Volga and Don rivers.

In 1993 Father Werenfried spoke at the World Youth Day in Denver, USA.

In 1997 a pilgrimage to Fatima of over 5,000 friends, benefactors and staff of Aid to the Church in Need marked the 50th anniversary of ACN and the 80th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima. Father Werenfried renewed the consecration of his Charity to Our Lady.

1050-lossromIn 2000 Father Werenfried celebrates his Diamond Jubilee of the priesthood and a Holy Year pilgrimage is organised with friends and benefactors to Rome. Pope John Paul II addresses a message of greeting to Father Werenfried and thanks him, on behalf of the Church, for his life`s work.

In 2001 Father Werenfried meets Pope John Paul II during the latter`s pastoral visit to Ukraine. In Lviv the Pope blesses the site of the new Greek-Catholic seminary and the Theological Centre which was funded by ACN benefactors.

In 2002 the first ever meeting of the spiritual assistants and leaders of ACN with Fr. Werenfried took place at which senior representatives and staff of the Vatican express their gratitude and recognition for the work of Aid to the Church in Need. The climax of this meeting was the concelebration of Holy Mass with the Pope in his private chapel after which the Holy Father gives Father Werenfried his own Paschal Candle.

In d pw geburtstag2003 On 17 January Father Werenfried celebrates his 90th birthday, together with over five hundred colleagues, friends and benefactors, with a solemn Mass in Limburg Cathedral followed by a reception in the town hall. Bishop Franz Kamphaus of Limburg gives the principal address and reminds us that "religion is still something exciting today". And he cites the life and work of Father Werenfried as the best proof of this.

04-aFollowing a short but serious illness, Father Werenfried passed away on 31 January 2003 in Bad Soden, Germany.

The solemn Requiem Mass is once again celebrated in Limburg Cathedral. The chief celebrant and preacher this time is the Prefect of the Vatican's clergy congregation, Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos. With him are Cardinal Meisner of Cologne, Bishop Franz Kamphaus of Limburg and numerous other bishops and priests from all around the world.

As a symbol of the resurrection and a token of personal affection and devotion to the Pope, the candle burning next to the coffin is the Paschal candle from the private chapel of Pope John Paul II, who had personally given this to Father Werenfried the previous year. The solemn burial of the Founder of Aid to the Church in Need takes place on the same afternoon, 7 February 2003 in the town of Königstein before a large throng of the faithful.