Konigstein Honors Founder of Aid to the Church in Need

KONIGSTEIN, Germany, DEC. 10, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Father Werenfried van Straaten, the Dutch-born founder of Aid to the Church in Need, was conferred honorary citizenship of Konigstein im Taunus, a city near Frankfurt he helped to make famous.

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ACN, founded by the Premonstratensian priest as a charitable work in 1947, has its main headquarters in Konigstein. The initiative of the “bacon priest,” as he is known, arose to help exiles and fugitives from Communist countries.

Later, ACN’s activities spread to the rest of Europe and other continents. Because of its large network of collaborators, this work has 70 million euro ($70.5 million) at its disposal.

John Paul II himself addressed the members and benefactors of ACN in these terms: “You follow the footsteps of the early Church, taking your help to the Churches that suffer in any part of the world.”

“This is an original and fundamental service to the human person deprived of or threatened to be deprived of his/her inalienable right to religious liberty,” the Pope added. “It was God who opened the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Christians to the sufferings of brothers, victims of religious persecution and forced exile.”

Father van Straaten turns 90 on Jan. 13.

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