Christians All Over The World Are Lighting Their Churches With Red Light To Remember All Of The Christians Slaughtered By ISIS
Christians all over the world are lighting their churches with red light to remember all the Christians persecuted and slaughtered by ISIS. Here are some photos:
The mother church of the Philippines, the Manila Cathedral, was bathed in red lights on Wednesday evening, November 22, as Filipinos marked a day to support persecuted Christians around the world.
This is Red Wednesday, a day when Catholics wear red and also light their churches in the same color.
Red, after all, is the color of martyrdom.
November 22 is also the feast of the 3rd-century martyr Saint Cecilia, when priests also wear red in Masses.
The new Vatican ambassador or papal nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, himself wore red vestments on Wednesday.
Caccia was the main celebrant of the Red Wednesday Mass at the Manila Cathedral, 5:30 pm on this day. This was Caccia’s first public appearance as the new papal nuncio to the Philippines.
“I take this opportunity to thank God for the witness of all the martyrs, starting from the beginning of the Church, like Saint Cecilia, up to now, as we have seen. We are supported by their strength,” Caccia said.
Red Wednesday is an initiative of the Catholic charity organization under Pope Francis, which is led in the Philippines by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
Up to 45 cathedrals, 24 shrines, and 5 basilicas joined the activities for Red Wednesday in the Philippines. Christians in the United Kingdom, Malta, Italy, and Brazil also observed Red Wednesday.
War in Marawi
At the Manila Cathedral, Caccia’s fellow Mass celebrants on Wednesday included Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña.
Marawi City, where Dela Peña’s Catholic community is based, was the site of a nearly 5-month waragainst terrorists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Dela Peña’s cathedral was burned and desecrated by Maute Group terrorists during the war in Marawi City.
“We never thought that this persecution of Christians that started in the Middle East, with the upsurge of violent terrorism and extremism of radical Islam, would come to the Philippines,” Dela Peña recalled.
“We in the Prelature of Marawi did not expect things like this, that the war would turn out like this,” he added.
Dela Peña then thanked ACN Philippines for “this gargantuan project of helping in the reconstruction of Marawi by sharing in the more difficult task of rebuilding broken lives, communities, physical structures, and livelihood.”
He also noted ACN Philippines’ efforts “for our persecuted Christians in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, and North Korea.”
‘Church more persecuted now’
Dela Peña said Filipinos “vow to make an effort to stop the persecution” of Christians, “by the power of the Gospel of God’s love, mercy, and compassion.”
While the Philippines is a majority Christian country, ACN pointed out that Christians suffer persecution elsewhere in the world.
“As statistics would say, Christianity is still the most persecuted religion in the world today, as it was 2,000 years ago,” said ACN Philippines national director Jonathan Luciano.
“The Church is more persecuted now than before,” Luciano said.
Hundreds of buildings and churches around the world are being lit up in red, with Christians also encouraged to wear red, as persecution watchdog groups mark #RedWednesday, an initiative aimed at drawing attention to the plight of persecuted believers.
“Red is the Christian color of martyrdom. Christians are the most persecuted faith group in today’s world and #RedWednesday will honor all Christians who suffer and die for their faithfulness to Christ’s message of peace and love,” Aid to the Church in Need states.
“#RedWednesday will shine a light on Christian persecution but also highlight the injustices perpetrated against other faith groups. Our campaign calls for respect and tolerance for people of faith and between different faith traditions.”
The Houses of Parliament in the U.K., alongside Lambeth Palace and 10 cathedrals will be floodlit in red, according to The Tablet. A special red “Routemaster” London bus will also pass through the nation’s capital bearing the campaign’s slogans.
Christians in the U.S. and a host of other nations, including Malta and Gibraltar, are also reportedly pushing for church buildings to mark the second annual #RedWednesday.
Over 70 cathedrals in the Catholic-majority nation of Philippines have been lit red, as they also remembered the churches destroyed and lives lost at the hands of Islamic extremists who attacked Marawi in May.