Numerous studies have consistently shown that Christians are the most persecuted faith group in the world. A study by Open Doors, a Christian advocacy group, reveals that the global persecution of Christians has risen for the past four consecutive years. Another study by the Center for New Religions published findings that over 90,000 Christians were murdered in 2016. That is equivalent to one Christian being murdered for the faith every six minutes. Furthermore, the study reveals that half a billion Christians are unable to freely express their faith. These findings affirm the declaration of Pope Francis that there are more Christians suffering today than there were in the early years of Christianity.
Given that our country is predominantly Christian, Filipinos find it difficult to grasp a reality where Christians can be persecuted. Many are not even aware of how difficult it is to practice the Christian faith in some areas of Muslim Mindanao. Since Christianity has been deeply ingrained in the fabric of Philippine society, we seem to have developed a blind spot regarding the nature and scale of Christian persecution in the world today.
For this reason, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Pontifical charity organization dedicated to help the suffering Church worldwide, is launching a Red Wednesday campaign to create awareness among Filipino Christians about the severity of Christian persecution. Red is the color of martyrdom in the Christian faith. The Red Wednesday campaign will shine a light on religious persecution and will honor all Christians who have suffered and died for Christ.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has endorsed the Red Wednesday campaign by inviting all cathedrals, minor basilicas and national & diocesan shrines to illuminate their façade in red. Furthermore, several Catholic universities in Manila have also expressed interest to join the campaign. On November 28, after the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, a program will be held to discuss the significance of the illumination of the said structures which will then be followed by a communal prayer for persecuted Christians.
In solidarity with Christians who suffer for their faith, ACN invites everyone to make a visible statement by wearing red and, if resources allow, light their own parishes or respective buildings or local monuments in red.
Let Red Wednesday be the start for Filipinos to lend their voice to the global call to uphold religious freedom and advocate for inter-faith harmony. As one global Christian family, may our expression of solidarity be a witness to the power of love over hate and be a source of strength and comfort for Christians all over the world by sending a message that they are not alone and that we are one with them in fighting for a better world where acceptance, love and respect for each other is the ultimate expression of faith in God.
In November 2016, to promote the latest Religious Freedom in the World report, ACN launched its first-ever Red Wednesday campaign in the United Kingdom. Key buildings, churches and schools were lit in red including Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, and the University of Oxford.
The Red Wednesday gained regional and international media and internet coverage. The overall feedback was remarkable with parliamentarians, church leaders, other faith groups and teachers appealing to Aid to the Church in Need to make this an annual event, therefore making a commitment to grow this campaign and make this an annual event.
This initiative of the UK office of ACN has since been adopted by other countries. To complement their own respective awareness campaigns for persecuted Christians, famous landmarks around the world were lighted in red including the Fontana De Trevi in Italy, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in France and the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.
In November 2017, Aid to the Church in Need Philippines joined the campaign for the first time. 82 ecclesiastical territories, churches and universities responded favorably and illuminated the facade of their churches/schools in red. Among the notable churches that participated in Red Wednesday are Manila Cathedral, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo, The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag in Pangasinan and the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace or more commonly known as the EDSA Shrine.
Catholic universities, such as the Ateneo de Manila University, St. Paul University (Manila and Quezon City) and the University of Sto. Tomas also joined the symbolic event. These schools also conducted exhibits and conferences on the situation of persecuted Christians in other parts of the world. Other churches and schools in Metro Manila and in other parts of the country have initiated their own campaigns as well.
Anyone who wishes to join us in praying and speaking out for persecuted Christians around the world may join Red Wednesday by going to any of the participating minor basilica, cathedral, shrine or university nearest you.
Diocese of Alaminos
Diocese of Bacolod
Diocese of Baguio
Diocese of Balanga
Diocese of Bayombong
Diocese of Cabanatuan
Diocese of Calbayog
Archdiocese of Caceres
Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro
Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan
Archdiocese of Capiz
Archdiocese of Cebu
Archdiocese of Davao
Diocese of Iba
Diocese of Imus
Prelature of Infanta
Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo
Diocese of Kabankalan
Diocese of Kalookan
Diocese of Legazpi
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
Archdiocese of Lipa
Diocese of Lucena
Diocese of Maasin
Diocese of Malaybalay
Archdicoese of Manila
Prelature of Marawi
Diocese of Masbate
Diocese of Mati
Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia
Archdiocese of Palo
Diocese of Paranaque
Diocese of Pasig
Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa
Diocese of Romblon
Diocese of San Fernando, La Union
Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga
Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija
Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro
Diocese of Talibon
Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay, Palawan
Diocese of Virac
De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde
De La Salle University
Don Bosco Academy Pampanga
St. Dominic Academy of Pulilan
St. Paul University – Manila
St. Paul University – Quezon City
St. Scholastica’s College – Manila
St. Therese Catholic School Noveleta Cavite
University of Santo Tomas
12 Schools from the Diocese of Calbayog
13 Schools from the Prelature of Infanta
The following famous landmarks and buildings will be lit in RED:
Basilica of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, USA
Sacré Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, Paris and other Catholic, Jewish and (possibly) Muslim Landmark Buildings in France
Christ the Redeemer Statue in Lisbon, Portugal
Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Parliament Building, Westminster Cathedral and other Churches in England
Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy
St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia
OTHER COUNTRIES JOINING THE EVENT