North America

Catholic Groups launch “Solidarity in Suffering” Week of Awareness

The Catholic organisation, Knights of Columbus will join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Catholic bodies for the Solidarity in Suffering initiative by sponsoring a Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.

The Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christians runs from Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2017.

Knights of Columbus councils, nationally have been asked to work with their parishes and share information about the Order’s work for persecuted Christians and to raise money to help these Christians. The Week of Awareness is an opportunity to show our solidarity with and support for our brothers and sisters. A collection will be taken up to be used to support brothers and sisters in Christ who have truly suffered for their faith.

Today, reports indicate that some 200 million Christians worldwide are still enduring or are at risk of physical violence, arrest, torture and death, because of their faith in Jesus Christ, Christians, in greater number, also face varying levels of oppression and restrictions on fully living their faith. Ironically – and tragically – the place where persecution of Christians is being most severely experienced is in that region of the world that is the birthplace of Christianity.

His Eminence Daniel Cardinal  DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), announced the designation of Sunday, November 26, 2017, as a day of prayer for persecuted Christians which also initiates “Solidarity in Suffering,” a week of awareness and education. The Solemnity of Christ the King is a fitting time to reflect on religious freedom and persecution, he said.

“My brother and sisters, I ask all of us to consider how our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East are living their own personal Way of the Cross.  Each carries a cross and they turn to us looking for some help as they bear the weight of unjust persecution, and the burden of intolerant hatred and violence directed at them simply because they are Christian.

“While ISIS forces in the region have been, and are continuing to be degraded, and pushed out of some areas since the height of the genocidal violence, the situation still remains precarious for Christians and other religious minorities who have already suffered greatly.

“Although some have begun to return to their homes in places like the Nineveh Plain, many people remain displaced and are struggling in harsh and under-supplied refugee settlements.  Much aid bypasses these Christians in need because the United Nations and the United States refuse to provide funds to the church groups that serve them.  Elsewhere, Christians face continuing marginalization and deprivations of fundamental human rights.

“We hear so much today of “solidarity.”  It is a word that has become a part of our vocabulary in the past twenty to thirty years.  In essence it means to stand with – to be one with others.  It is the practical virtue that manifests in concrete terms, the spiritual and deeper reality of human communion.  Our solidarity in Christ with brothers and sisters of our faith, and also our human solidarity with people of other faiths, in a part of the world where there is clearly an effort to eliminate them is something that no person in good conscience can ignore.”

Good people are being persecuted, tortured and killed simply because they are Christian.  It makes no difference whether they are Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox.  One way we can show solidarity with them is to stand together with them as one in Jesus Christ – Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox – notwithstanding whatever different understandings we may have on certain theological and doctrinal matters.

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http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/christians-in-the-middle-east/index.cfm