Persecution of Christians in the world is worse than at any time in history.
This is according to a report entitled “Persecuted and Forgotten,” produced by the office of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in the United Kingdom. According to the report, not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, “but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution.”
The report discloses that most of the persecution is happening in countries where fundamentalist groups are present like Daesh (ISIS) in the Middle East and Boko Haram in Africa. Persecution is also notable in authoritarian nations like China and North Korea.
For this reason, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has declared this Monday, November 6 as the National Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. On the said day, the CBCP has requested all parishes to use the Votive Mass for Persecuted Christians found in the Roman Missal. A votive mass is a Eucharistic celebration for special purposes or occasions.
The Ateneo de Manila University will mark the National Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians with the following activities: Votive Mass by the Grade School department at 6:30am at the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels and by the college department at at 7:15 am and 12 noon at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception (College Chapel). The Mass of ACN will be held at 11:30 am at the CBCP Chapel.
Aside from the Mass, Catholics are also encouraged to pray on Monday the Angelus for Persecuted Christians.
ACN is a Catholic charity foundation under the Vatican that was established to assist Christian communities in need, including those that are undergoing persecution, oppression, and discrimination.
One of these countries is Iraq where ACN’s report discloses that “the exodus of Christians is so severe that one of the world’s most ancient Christian community is on course to disappear within three years unless there is a dramatic change for the better.” ISIS has destroyed 13,000 homes and displaced 120,000 people in Nineveh, a Christian majority area in the said country.
Closer to home, Christians are also undergoing persecution in China where more than 2,000 churches and crosses have been pulled down by the government. Many members of the clergy are also detained since the government considers Christianity as a foreign infiltration. In neighboring North Korea, there are reports of “unspeakable atrocities” against Christians, including starvation, forced abortion, forced labor, imprisonment, and torture.
The UK report also included the atrocities of the Maute group against Filipino Christians during the Marawi siege.
In the face of this persecution, ACN believes praying for persecuted Christians will make Filipinos more aware and hopefully move many to compassion so that they could support suffering Christian communities through education campaigns, political advocacies and for those who are able, through financial help.
Filipinos who would like to contribute donations to Christian communities in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and other countries may do so through ACN. The money raised will be forwarded to ACN’s headquarters in Germany where it will be disbursed to church communities as financial aid to help reconstruct destroyed churches and war-ravaged communities, as well as funding for humanitarian assistance, and support for the formation of the clergy, religious and the laity among others.
On Nov. 22, ACN will also lead a nationwide campaign called Red Wednesday where the facade of participating cathedrals, minor basilicas, shrines and Catholic universities will be lit in red to honor and pay tribute to the sacrifice of modern-day Christian martyrs. Those that have committed to participate include the Manila Cathedral, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Paranaque and the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace or more commonly known as the EDSA Shrine.
Josemaria E. Claro
Media and Communications Specialist
MOB +63 917 790 3343
Peachy E. Yamsuan
MOB +63 917 8355363
Eunice Ceres Josue
+63 917 442 0766
Aid to the Church in Need | ACN Philippines
CBCP Bldg., 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros | 1002 Manila | PHILIPPINES
TEL +632 244 7334 |
ANGELUS PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS