Italian family donates to ACN for the construction of a church in Bangladesh, in memory of a murdered daughter and sister
• “Simona is a martyr and we want to support persecuted Christians”, says her brother
Simona Monti, aged 33, was murdered together with her unborn baby when Islamist terrorists stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and held a group of around 20 people hostage overnight from 1st to 2nd July this year. Her brother, Fr Luca Monti and his family have recently decided to make a donation to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in memory of his sister. Speaking about this decision Fr Luca said: “Simona was murdered in hatred of the faith, and that’s why we wanted to remember her, while at the same time supporting persecuted Christians.”
The Monti family is contributing through ACN, to the construction of the church of St Michael in Harintana, a small town in southern Bangladesh, in the diocese of Khulna. Fr Luca, who is parish priest of the church of Sts Peter and Paul in the small town of Santa Lucia di Serino, near Naples in southern Italy said in a recent interview with ACN: “Ours is a Christian family and we believe that Simona died a martyr’s death, along with all the other victims of that terrible attack. So we chose to have a very simple funeral for her, so that we could perform some good work on behalf of persecuted Christians. We chose to do this via ACN, because it is a pontifical foundation and because it supports some wonderful projects on behalf of our Christian brethren who are persecuted in hatred of the faith.”
It is a very positive response to the horror of extremism, for the benefit of a country plagued by extremism, such as Bangladesh, and for the promotion of interreligious dialogue and the support of the minorities. The Monti family will be helping to provide a place of prayer for the Catholic community of Harintana, who until now have been obliged to travel several kilometres and cross a river in order to get to the nearest church. Fr Luca said: “We chose this project because it gives us fresh hope to know that the church of St Michael will be an incentive to the Christians of Bangladesh, helping them not to be afraid and not to yield, even in the face of violence. And of course we also did it for Simona, because we know that the local community, out of the kindness of their hearts, will pray for her soul and for our family.”
Fr Luca remembers his sister in particular for her dedication to her work and for her loving determination He also added that, beyond their great suffering, the Monti family draws great strength from knowing that Simona died for her faith. “It was deeply moving to me to hear my father say, ‘I have given God one son as a priest, and one daughter as a martyr.’...”
Since January 2015 ACN has given over $1million in support of projects in Bangladesh.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 172 languages and 50 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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