In a world overshadowed by indifference to the plight of persecuted Christians, Red Wednesday emerges as a powerful reminder. This international initiative, organised by Aid to the Church in Need, designates November 22, 2023, as a day to honour and pray for Christians who suffer and even lose their lives due to their religious beliefs.
The underlying purpose of Red Wednesday is to cast light upon the silent suffering of Christians worldwide, often marginalized by the media. Fr. John Kennedy, Parish Priest of Christ the King Church in Tennant Creek, spoke about the importance of this event. He emphasised that the Western world frequently fails to acknowledge the pervasive persecution of Christians, sometimes even by their fellow Christians.
MC (Mother Teresa) Sister holding an image featuring the faces of four sisters who were tragically murdered in 2016 and the beautiful Christ the King Church in Tennant Creek on Red Wednesday 2022.
As we reflect on the importance of this day, it is crucial to remember individuals who sacrificed their lives for their faith. The Night of the Witnesses Martyrologies serves as a stark reminder:
· Fr. Cecilio Pérez Cruz was shot dead in El Salvador while serving his parish.
· Fr. Jose Martin Guzman Vega was stabbed in northern Mexico, becoming the 26th priest murdered in Mexico since 2012.
· Sr. Isabel Sola was murdered in Haiti while working as a nurse to aid the poor.
· Brother Diego Bedoya was stabbed to death in Venezuela while overseeing a shelter for the vulnerable.
· Fr. Samaan Shehata was stabbed by an Islamist terrorist in Egypt.
· Fr. Hovsep Hanna Bedoyan was killed in Syria by armed men.
· Four Missionaries of Charity were murdered in Yemen.
· Violence against Christians in Iraq surged since 2003, leading to numerous abductions, torture, and killings.
· Michael Nnadi, a Nigerian seminarian, was kidnapped and found dead after expressing his desire to serve God.
· Sister Veronica Rackova was wounded by bullets in South Sudan while serving the poor.
· Therese Kapangala was killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo while protecting a girl’s life.
· A double terrorist attack in the Philippines resulted in the deaths of 20 worshippers.
On Red Wednesday, we are called to reflect on these tragic events and offer our prayers and support to Christians enduring persecution. It is a day to raise awareness, break the silence, and stand in solidarity with those who face violence and discrimination due to their faith.
What can we do on Red Wednesday 2023 to acknowledge this injustice?
This Red Wednesday, let’s light a candle, wear something red, and take a moment to remember the brave souls who have faced persecution for their faith. Joining hands in prayer and solidarity, we can make a difference, advocate for religious freedom, and ensure that the voices of the persecuted are heard.
In a world often deaf to their suffering, Red Wednesday serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us to stand up for justice and to make each day count in the fight against religious persecution.