Most of ACN's funding in Iraq is going toward their Nineveh Plains Reconstruction Project, and providing spiritual support through Masses, formation and catechesis, as well as food and transport.
The reconstruction project, Heine-Geldern said, has also helped bring different Christian rites in Iraq together and has allowed them to interact in a way that was not typical in the past.
"We have created a platform," he said, noting that the committee for the project is composed of leaders from the Syriac Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church.
"This is very, very important, because in addition to all these struggles, these tragedies, all this ethnic and religious persecution, we have still found a lack of experience in cooperation among Christians in the Middle East," he said, noting that the committee as a body evaluates the needs and decides which villages or churches to focus on next.
In Syria, which is second on the list of Middle Eastern aid recipients for ACN, most of the funding still comes in the form of basic humanitarian aid since the country is still at war.
"We still have war, we still have uncertainty, and people still need emergency help in order enable Christians there to remain or to entice them to return," Heine-Geldern said, reiterating that the organization's main priority is to help Christians stay in their home country.
"This is not a political statement about immigration, but it is our vocation to do that," he said, explaining that from even from a geopolitical view, they don't want the area to become "totally Christian free."
"Christians are a good backbone of society," he said, noting that many Muslims have told him Christians are needed in the Middle East, because they form the majority of the middle class, and are educated.
In terms of 2018, Heine-Geldern said Syria and Iraq will continue to be a priority, as will the religious freedom report ACN publishes annually, which will be released in November.
Additionally, India will also be a key focus, with particular attention for Catholics who are members of the "Dalit" class, which is the lowest in the caste and whose members are considered "untouchable" and less than human.
These people are "oppressed and neglected by the system," and they also face increasing religious persecution from the amplified presence of Hindu extremists, Heine-Geldern said, noting that ACN recently launched a campaign to "open the eyes" of the world to what is happening on the ground.
(Story continues below)
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"From what I've seen, they really deserve our help. It is a very serious situation."