Persecution, Suffering

8 Concrete ways parishes can support persecuted Christians

PALENSTINIAN CHRISTIANS

MAJDI FATHI | NurPhoto | AFP From Aletia (highly recommended)
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP | Jan 07, 2020

From a small gesture you can do single-handedly, to something that will take some networking, these are ways we can help our brothers and sisters in so much need.

A 2019 report from the British government claims that 80% of people persecuted for their religion throughout the world are Christians. In the Middle East and North Africa, just a century ago, 20% of the population was Christian. Today Christians number less than 4% of the population of the same region.As we open a new year and a new decade (depending on which side of that argument you fall on), we would do well to call to mind the sufferings of Christian communities throughout the world.

But what can we do? Here are some ideas for our local communities.

1) PRAY FOR PEACE

The best and most important expression of solidarity with persecuted Christians throughout the world is prayer. As Pope Francis has said in his January prayer intention, “In a divided and fragmented world, I want to invite all believers, and also all people of good will, to reconciliation and fraternity. Our faith leads us to spread the values of peace and mutual understanding, of the common good. We pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote together peace and justice in the world.”

To promote prayers for peace, parishes can easily make holy cards or include prayers in bulletins, which parishioners can keep on refrigerators and bedside tables. One such template is provided here by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

2) FOLLOW INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN NEWS

Catholic news sites like Aleteia.org work hard to regularly report on suffering Christian communities. By simply reading international news and becoming more informed about world events, you can become a source of information for family and friends. Sharing posts on social media about the persecution of Christians is a valuable way you can raise awareness in your own networks about the adversity our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing throughout the world.

3) DONATE MONEY

I know that no pastor in his right mind eagerly looks forward to more fundraising projects, but the needs of Christian communities throughout the world are very great. Wine and cheese nights, second collections, dinners, and more could easily be held to support worthy charities that do extraordinary things to provide direct services for Christians in need.

The Knights of Columbus have built an incredible network through their Christians at Risk efforts to provide immediate food and medical assistance. The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) hosts an abundance of projects to build up the church as well as provide humanitarian aid. Aid to the Church in Need is helping Christians in some of the most volatile areas. You’ll occasionally find reports provided by their staff here at Aleteia. Finally, the St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy announces the Gospel values of compassion and charity animated by acts of mercy. These charities are in great need of support as Christians begin to rebuild in countries like Iraq in the wake of ISIS.

4) PROMOTE CHRISTIAN CULTURES

Partner with local Catholic communities to host cultural celebrations. Many Marionite, Melkite, and Chaldean communities throw vibrant celebrations to honor their patron saints. Offer to contribute to the festivals hosted by these communities or organize similar events in your own community. Encountering cultural traditions (music, food, dancing, prayer, patron saints) is a critical way to preserve and share the heritage of persecuted Christian communities.

5) SHOW A DOCUMENTARY

One way to connect with persecuted Christians is to hear their stories. The University of Notre Dame and the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University have produced a 26-minute film exposing the pain of Christian communities throughout the world, titled Under Caesar’s Sword. Focusing particularly on the Christian response to persecution, the documentary can be streamed for free from the project’s website.

6) HOST A STUDY SERIES

The same research grant that funded the documentary film Under Caesar’s Sword has produced an impressive seven-session study program. Built to animate discussion, the “We Respond” program combines impressive scholarly research with the invitation to deepen one’s personal faith in order to promote reflection and action alike concerning the harsh reality of Christian persecution. With adult and teen study guides, including facilitator’s manuals, the “We Respond” series is a ready package for any parish or Christian community.

7) JOIN THE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY LOBBY

Political action is a critical part of the Christian response to suffering. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has built an action center that can reliably be used to raise awareness and animate Catholic action as issues arise.

8) HOST A PRAYER VIGIL OR HOLY HOUR

An evening vigil to memorialize an attack can be a powerful witness. Light candles in a darkened church, meditate on the psalms, and intercede for suffering communities throughout the globe. (One parish was unable to participate in the #RedWednesday initiative linked above, so they surrounded the monstrance with red candles, to do what they could with the possibilities they had.)

Parishes could also plan a monthly holy hour to pray for Christians in particular countries. One template for a holy hour is available here. Alternatively, distribute rosaries and encourage parishioners to pray a weekly Rosary for persecuted Christians.

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I have been telling my wife and kids and others — that the big persecution coming to Christians will be from the militant Gay Totalitarianism. I am not hateful of gays — to the contrary, I love them like everyone else.

Do I oppose the Gay Lifestyle? Yes. I also oppose other aberrant and perverted lifestyles.

Do I hate gays, of course not! They are human beings created in the image of God like I am and everyone else. But I do not what their agenda pushed down my throat. I don’t want them to succeed in pushing their lifestyle to end up causing the destruction of the family and giving them priority over others. I believe in and support the traditional family and the universally held definition of marriage.

Yes, I am opposed to the militant Gay Lobby and the way they are forcing everyone to — not just approve of their lifestyle — but to celebrate it. If we don’t then we are bigots and hateful and we will be the targets of their new totalitarianism.

This web page will help explain what we as Christians will be up against in the coming years – -and already! Our kids will be the victims.

Read and watch this at your own risk. If you don’t want to be opposed and to suffer persecution — then deny Christ now and join the relativistic, traditional family opposing elite.

Gay Totalitarianism and the Coming Persecution of Christians

Also see this site

 

 

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The World’s 50 Most Anti-Christian Countries

by Steve Ray on March 17, 2019

Is anyone surprised that the majority of these anti-Christian countries are Islamic? Click on map below for larger image. This was published by Ignatius Press’ Catholic World Report.

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 6.15.43 PM

Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2018 / 11:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- There are more than 215 million persecuted Christians worldwide according to the 2018 World Watch List, Open Doors USA’s annual ranking of the 50 worst countries for violence and persecution against Christians.

The report found that one in twelve Christians worldwide are victims of violent persecution. Open Doors USA cites the spread of radical Islam and increasing religious nationalism as the two major drivers of global Christian persecution.

North Korea tops the list of worst offenders, as it has for the past 16 years. Although the communist North Korean government claims to provide freedom of religion in its constitution, no one can be openly Christian within the atheist state without facing arrest, re-education in a labor camp, or, in some cases, execution.

87768_w_725Despite the danger, Open Doors USA finds that there has been tremendous growth in underground Christianity in North Korea in the last two decades. The report estimates that there might be up to 300,000 Christians living clandestinely in North Korea.

Afghanistan comes in a close second in this year’s World Watch List ranking. Afghan citizens in this 99 percent Muslim country are banned from becoming Christian. Open Doors USA reports that underground Christians in Afghanistan have been killed by their own family members, who viewed the Christian conversion as a shameful apostasy.

341a4bab0687206404434a2ede99be9dIslamic oppression continues to be a growing concern for many Christians around the world. For eight of the top ten countries on the World Watch List, Islamic extremism is the primary cause of Christian persecution.

Islamic militancy has been on the rise in Somalia, where Christians, if discovered, are often martyred. Christians in Egypt, India, Libya, and Kazakhstan also experienced increased persecution since last year’s report.

Pakistani Christians experienced the most documented violence according to the report. Islamic militants in Pakistan specifically target Christians. A suicide bomb on Easter Sunday 2016 killed 74 people and injured hundreds more.

In addition to the spread of radical Islam, the report identified a rise in religious nationalism and intense persecution in central Asia as major trends in the persecution of Christians. Hindu nationalism has increased in India and Nepal, as has Buddhist nationalism in Burma and Sri Lanka. And persecution of Christians in central Asian nations, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, is intensifying under nationalist, pro-Islamic governments.

Also included on the list were Mexico and Colombia, where organized crime and corruption were cited as the source of Christian persecution.

Open Doors USA documented that 3,066 Christians were killed; 1,252 were abducted; 1,020 were raped or sexually harassed; and 793 churches were attacked within the reporting period for the 2018 World Watch List.

The World Watch List includes specific prayers requests for each of the top 50 countries, recalling Open Doors USA’s founder Brother Andrew’s faith in the power of prayer to aid those who are suffering afar: “Our prayers can go where we cannot … There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”

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An Excellent Summary of Christianity in China, and What in the World Is the Pope Doing?

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A Look at the World’s 50 Most Anti-Christian Countries

January 27, 2018

Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2018 / 11:55 am (CNA/EWTN News). There are more than 215 million persecuted Christians worldwide according to the 2018 World Watch List, Open Doors USA’s annual ranking of the 50 worst countries for violence and persecution against Christians. The report found that one in twelve Christians worldwide are victims of violent persecution. […]

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Devastation of Christian Towns In Iraq by ISIS – Short Video

March 20, 2017

A visit to the Chaldean Christian town of Karemlash, 9 miles from Mosul, liberated from ISIS by Iraqi and Kurdish forces in November 2016. I sure hope and pray the world wakes up and stops this carnage. I am glad President Trump has promised – and is doing something already to end this.

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Forty Frozen Martyrs – we honor them today March 10

March 9, 2017

In my talk Swimming Upstream I usually tell the story of 40 Roman soldiers who chose to freeze naked on a frozen lake in 320 AD rather than deny Jesus Christ. St. Basil, Doctor of the Church, told of the heroic martyrdom of 40 soldiers in a homily. They had been executed fifty years before […]

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Christian Refugees Merit Priority Status

February 1, 2017

Bill Donohue comments on the urgent need to give priority status to persecuted Christian refugees. (sorry for the graphic images, but someone has to show and tell what is going on with Muslim persecution of Christians) In November 2015, President Barack Obama told a G20 press conference that proposals to give priority status to Christian […]

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‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian

January 12, 2017

Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List. Jeremy Weber  Posted in Christianity Today   1/11/2017 09:00AM For the third year in a row, the modern persecution of Christians worldwide has hit another record high. But the primary cause, Islamic extremism, now has a rival: ethnic nationalism. Thus, Asia increasingly merits […]

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Thanks to Assad and Putin…

December 25, 2016

Are you against Syrian President Bashar Assad like Obama and Hilary are? Thanks to Putin/Assad Catholics in Aleppo have Christmas Mass 1st time in 5 years! Assad has always supported and protected the Christians. How can our country get it so wrong? Read more HERE.

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Are Catholics to Blame for the Orlando Jihad Slaughter?

June 18, 2016

UPDATE: Bishop Lynch rebuked by Archbishop of Miami. Some say “Yes!” including Bishop Robert Lynch, the bishop of St. Petersburg Florida who said, “sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. (Let’s hope he soon corrects or clarifies his comment.) Attacks […]

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April 3, 2016

This is the talk I have been most asked to give in the last few years. It is a hard-hitting, politically incorrect talk about the state of our culture and what we as Christians are called to do. I use some pretty scary and interesting stories and example. We step back into the early Church […]

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West has ‘betrayed the Christians of the East’, says Syrian Patriarch

November 28, 2015

Syria, November 19, 2015: The head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Youan, has said the West has betrayed Syrians and caused an endless conflict in the country. Speaking to Le Messenger, an Egpytian Catholic magazine, Youan spoke passionately about the “chaos” that Western governments have caused by ignoring the advice of […]

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I Just Donated to Christians Persecuted in Syria – Join Me!

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Office Depot Defiantly Rejects Printing Order for a Pro-Life prayer; I Just Took Action!

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n a clear case of religious discrimination, Office Depot has refused to print 500 copies of a flyer that contains a prayer to end abortion at the hands of Planned Parenthood. Chicago resident Maria Goldstein wanted to make a few hundred copies for her parish and went to her local Office Depot store, where her […]

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