CBCP to pray for persecuted Christians around the world
An Iraqi soldier reinstalls a crucifix on top of a Christian church after liberation of Qaraqosh in northern Iraq. ACN
MANILA— The Catholic Church in the Philippines will hold special prayers for the protection of Christians in persecuted countries on Monday.
Parishes across the country are expected to use the “Votive Mass”, a Eucharistic celebration for special purposes, for persecuted Christians found in the Roman Missal.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier declared November 6 as the National Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.
In Quezon City, the Ateneo de Manila Grade School will hold a Votive Mass at the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels at 6:30am, while the Aid to the Church in Need (CAN) Philippines will hold it at the CBCP Chapel in Intramuros at 11:30am.
The ACN said that Christians from the around the world are facing persecution in unprecedented numbers.
“Persecution of Christians in the world is worse than at any time in history,” according to a report titled “Persecuted and Forgotten,” produced by the ACN in the United Kingdom.
The report added that not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, “but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution.”
It also disclosed 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.
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.
Persecution is also notable in authoritarian nations like China and North Korea, the ACN added.
The UK report also included the atrocities of the Maute group against Filipino Christians during the Marawi siege.
Aside from the Mass, Catholics are also encouraged to pray on Monday the Angelus for persecuted Christians.
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.
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.
“Filipinos who would like to contribute donations to Christian communities in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and other countries may do so through CAN,” it also said.
The money raised, the ACN said will be forwarded to their headquarters in Germany where it will be disbursed to church communities 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. CBCPNews