Following the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel, the Italian arm of Aid to the Church in Need is launching a campaign to support the training of 1,000 new priests around the world.
The Catholic charity, which is dedicated to supporting persecuted Christians, will fund seminarian studies for future priests in 21 dioceses of countries including Nigeria, Cuba, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and India.
Alessandro Monteduro, director of ACN in Italy, told Catholic News Agency: “Support for the formation of new priests is a concrete response to fundamentalism, because especially in countries where the extremist threat is the greatest, the ministers of God must possess the appropriate tools to promote dialogue and contribute to a peaceful coexistence between all the religious groups, putting an end to the conflicts.”
Aid to the Church in Need said on its Italian website that it will offer support to seminarians belonging to dioceses in Africa, eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. Monteduro added: “We chose the seminaries that had the greatest need for aid, to allow them to accommodate more students and form what we consider to be the new ‘soldiers of the faith’.”
Fr Jacques Hamel had his throat slit by Islamists while he was celebrating Mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, on July 26.
The full list of countries where seminarians will be supported by ACN is as follows: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Bolivia, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Romania, India, Kenya.