Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore and Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace, has called for prayers for persecuted Christians. In this short video message released for Christmas week, Bishop McAreavey asks us to remember our own brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith who are finding it very difficult just to maintain their friendship with Christ, and their fellowship with Catholics around the world.
Bishop Mc Areaway says that “to be a Catholic is to belong to a parish or a community but we are also linked through our faith to other Catholic men, women and children across the world.”
“Coming up to Christmas this year we are particularly aware of the suffering of the people of Aleppo in Syria. Aleppo was one of those cities which had a large Christian population. This Christmas we think of the people of Aleppo. We think of the men, women, children, families who will have to gather somewhere dark and dungeon like to celebrate the birth of Christ. We also think of those men, women and children who, simply by being Catholic will bring persecution and intolerance from those around them.”
Bishop Mc Areavey says he is also thinking of those who are persecuted in Egypt, China, India, Pakistan….and many other places.
He finishes his reflection by offering the prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman for all those persecuted for the faith around the world:
May He support us all the day long,
till the shades lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then in His mercy
may He give us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest
and peace at the last.