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Pope supports campaign calling on people ‘to carry out works of mercy throughout the world’

Pope Francis arriving at a weekly general audience (AP)

Pope Francis is to offer his support to a fundraising campaign organised by a leading Catholic charity to mark the Pontiff’s Year of Mercy.

Aid to the Church in Need’s (ACN) Be God’s Mercy initiative will be launched on Friday at a press conference in the offices of Vatican Radio in Rome.

The Pope is personally associating himself with the campaign through a video message to be released on Friday, in which he highlights ACN’s work.

In his message, the Pope will call on people to “carry out works of mercy together with ACN in every corner of the world, in order to meet the many, many needs of today”.

ACN projects supported during the four-month Be God’s Mercy campaign include prison ministry, drug rehabilitation centres, support groups for women who have suffered violence

In his video message, the Pope says: “I am entrusting these works to Aid to the Church in Need.”

For Christians and others who fled ISIS in Iraq, the Pope has supported an ACN project providing medicine for St Joseph’s Clinic, Erbil, in the Kurdish north of the country, which serves 2,800 displaced people.

The Pope’s financial support was sent via Italian Bishop Francesco Cavina of Carpi to ACN project partner Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil.

Fr Imad Gargees, a Catholic priest working with Iraqi refugees, will give a description of the project at Friday’s press conference.

He will also show a short video about the clinic with a message of thanks to the Pope from Archbishop Warda.

Also speaking at the press conference will be Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, Pakistan, who will give an account of the atrocity on March 27 in Lahore where suicide bombers killed 76 people in a park, many of them Christians celebrating on Easter Day.

Pakistan is the focus of three Be God’s Mercy projects – support for victims of the March 2015 suicide bomb blasts on two churches in Yohannabad, outside Lahore, as well as increased security both for St John’s, one of the two churches in question, and the nearby St Francis Xavier Major Seminary.

Further details about the Be God’s Mercy will be given to the Pope at a private audience on Friday, ahead of the press conference, at which the Pope will meet Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the international President of ACN, Johannes Heereman, executive president of ACN International, and the charity’s general secretary, Philipp Ozores.

The initiative, which ends on October 4, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, a saint close to the Pope’s heart, has the support of ACN’s network of fundraising and awareness-raising offices in 22 countries around the world, from South Korea to Colombia, USA to Australia as well as networks all over Europe.