By: Marta Petrosillo in Rome
A brand-new, special edition Lamborghini Huracan sports car presented to Pope Francis will be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to charity.
Part of the funds raised from the Sotheby's auction will go to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need to help with its work rebuilding Christian settlements on the Nineveh Plains destroyed by Daesh (ISIS).
The project helps displaced Christians, who have been dependent on emergency aid since 2014, to go back to their original towns and villages.
"We have thanked the Holy Father and assured him that we will use his gift well - by bringing thousands more Christians back to Nineveh," said Alfredo Mantovano and Alessandro Monteduro, president and director of ACN (Italy), in a statement.
Senior staff from the Italian office of ACN were present this morning (Wednesday, 15th November) for the delivery of the sleek, white car with yellow-gold markings to Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
It is not the first time that Pope Francis has supported persecuted Christians in Iraq through ACN. In 2016, he donated €100,000 (£90,000) to the Saint Joseph Hospital in Erbil, Kurdish northern Iraq, where thousands of refugees are being treated.
The Pope's words of encouragement for the ACN plan for the reconstruction of the Christian villages of the Nineveh Plains were also sent in September through Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Cardinal Parolin took part in ACN's international conference in Rome which looked at the plans to help Iraq's Christians.
In their statement, Mantovano and Monteduro said: "During today's meeting we showed Pope Francis the first achievements of our project and the photos of the first families to come home. We also want to stress, together with the Holy Father, that our plan is the result of a significant process of reconciliation and forgiveness, and the result of an agreement between local Churches, whose priests and religious collaborate actively, and work together to practically assist Iraq's Christians."
ACN also thanked the sports-car maker Lamborghini. The president and director of ACN (Italy) stated: "The gift to the Pope by the car manufacturer is a good example of how big companies can actually help Christians who suffer."
Read more about ACN here: www.acnuk.org