The Portal December 2017 - Page 20

THE P RTAL December 2017 Page 20 Aid to the Church in Need Nativity’s pro-life message alive in Russia Murcadha O’Flaherty A id to the Church in Need is helping vulnerable women and their unborn children in Russia – fulfilling Church teaching that each and every human life has inherent dignity. Remembering that the Holy Family found no room in the inn when they came to Bethlehem, Russia’s Catholic and Orthodox Churches are helping up to 42 destitute women and their families with accommodation until they find a stable address. The National Director of ACN’s UK Office, Neville Kyrke-Smith, described the charity’s help for this ecumenical project. During his autumn visit, Mr Kyrke- Smith joined with His Eminence Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill of Stavropol and Nevinnomysk to open a shelter for young mothers in Stavropol – a town whose name means City of the Cross. The dignitaries met with those families receiving practical assistance, including a Muslim family in need. Mr Kyrke-Smith said, “This project is absolutely vital, as it supports pregnant women who are often left without any assistance from their families. The centre was founded by the Orthodox Church – and we are delighted to be able to support this important ecumenical project, helping women in a very difficult situation.” on Russia’s population as well as its global effect, Mr Humeniuk said, “Unfortunately, abortion is very prevalent in Russia. This can be traced back to Soviet times… the Russian people are beginning to become aware of this problem, because if nothing else, the demographic development in Russia… and that of the Western world – has now become a wake-up call for ACN has given more than £20,000 to the centre’s many people.” sheltered accommodation, offering alternatives to ACN is also supporting other projects in Russia that abortion. It also supports women with telephone counselling, advice and information. Thanking the reflect the hope brought when Our Lord Jesus Christ charity’s supporters, Metropolitan Kirill told Mr took flesh and dwelt among us: including an intensive Kyrke-Smith, “Thank you and may God bless our dear year-long drug rehabilitation course using with friends at Aid to the Church in Need. We pray for success rates as high as 80 per cent. And a new chapel in Stavropol – previously the Catholic community them.”  gathered in a farmer’s workshop. Fr Mitrzak is the first Members of both the Catholic and Orthodox Catholic priest residing permanently there since the Churches attended the international protection-of- Revolution – and Metropolitan Kyrill is helping the life seminar held by the Moscow Patriarchate earlier chapel with registration requirements. this year. The seminar developed the call to “respect Speaking of the charity’s work, Mr Kyrke-Smith said, the inalienable right to life” in Pope Francis’ and Patriarch Kirill’s joint declaration. ACN’s Russia “When Our Lord was born as man he was rejected by expert, Peter Humeniuk, described the conference as the world around him. I am greatly encouraged that taking “concrete steps in the spirit of ecumenism. The Russian Orthodox and Catholic Churches are working seminar focused on analysing the situation, but also together to help the rejected and afflicted, seeing Our – and particularly – on finding solutions.” Delegates Lord incarnate in their misery.” meet with a Catholic group from Milan that offers Aid to the Church in Need - www.acnuk.org pregnancy counselling and has already saved almost contact: acn@acnuk.org or call 020 8642 8668 20,000 children. Speaking of the impact of abortion