Catholic Pontifical Organization Announces Global Campaign against Religious Persecution

A Mass and ceremony were held in 82 ecclesiastical territories, churches, and universities in the Philippines for those martyred for their faith and those suffering in order to live His Word.
Credit: Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Christians all over the world continue to be persecuted on the basis of their faith, a Catholic Pontifical organization has said while announcing this year’s global call for religious freedom.

In a statement shared on its website, the leadership of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has noted that #RedWeek 2020, a campaign initiated to draw attention to the persecution of Christians all over the world, will take place from 18-25 November.

According to ACN, hundreds of churches, monuments and buildings will be illuminated in red light in the global call for an end to religious persecution.

The events will include witnesses and prayers for persecuted Christians, COVID-19 challenges notwithstanding, according to the leadership of the international charity organization.

“In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, #RedWeek 2020, a campaign initiated to draw attention to the persecution of Christians all over the world, will still take place this year from 18-25 November,” ACN leadership announced in a statement published on Thursday, November 12.

In the announcement, the Executive President of ACN, Thomas Heine-Geldern says, “COVID- 19 may have brought many changes, but Christians continue to be the most persecuted religious community in the world.”

Mr.  Heine-Geldern add, “In order to raise awareness about this painful fact, cathedrals, churches and public buildings will be illuminated in red light in many countries across four continents.”

“Furthermore, a large number of initiatives will be offered online,” the ACN top official confirms, and explains that the initiative represents a strong sign of support for all those who are suffering discrimination but cannot speak freely about it themselves and hope that others will raise their voices in their stead.

#RedWeek is an initiative launched in 2015 by the international pontifical foundation ACN, an international Catholic charity that supports suffering and persecuted Christians.

ACN leadership notes that about 250 million Christians all over the world are living in environments in which they are violently persecuted, discriminated against or prevented from freely practicing their faith.

This year, the initiative will begin in Austria next week, Wednesday, November 18 where Holy Mass for persecuted Christians will be held in a red-lit St. Stephen’s Cathedral of Vienna Archdiocese.

“On this day, the red spotlight will shine on almost 50 participating Austrian churches and state institutions such as the Austrian parliament in Vienna,” officials of the charity organization say of the start of the campaign.

A highlight is planned for 25 November with special events in Great Britain and the Philippines.

On November 25, a report dubbed “Set Your Captives Free” on Christians who have unjustly been incarcerated because of their faith will be presented in Great Britain.

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese is expected to contribute in discussion of the report that touches on persecutions in which Christians seem to be the main target in the West African country.

Other contributors will include former British member of parliament, Rob Flello, and Maira Shahbaz from Pakistan, whose case of kidnapping and terror is also discussed in the report.

ACN leadership notes that it is likely that also the statue of Christ “Cristo Redentor” in Rio de Janeiro, where the campaign first began in 2015, will again be a part of the campaign this year.

“In years past, the colosseum in Rome has also set the stage for the initiative commemorating the suffering of Christians,” ACN leadership says in the November 12 announcement.

In the Philippines, the focus of #RedWeek is completely on the COVID-19 pandemic this year, according to the Catholic Pontifical organization.

“The objective is to raise awareness about the many Clergy and Religious Sisters who are working on the frontline assisting those who have fallen ill and who are performing their service at great personal risk,” ACN officials note.

They add, “Although in previous years the focus was on churches and schools, this year the initiative is also calling upon hospitals to take part.”

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