Bishops prayed for peace in the Holy Land and for an end to cycle of death and destruction following the attack by Hamas on Israelis on 7 October, and the response by the Israeli Defence Forces. Bishops prayed for safety of everyone, including Christians, and for the pastoral leadership of Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis in the consistory of 30 September. Cardinal Pizzabella’s appointment reflects the priority the Church gives to the Holy Land and gives a voice to Catholics and other Christians there.
To highlight the persecution of Christians worldwide, bishops around Ireland are encouraging dioceses and parishes to avail of Wednesday, 22 November – commonly known throughout the Church as ‘Red Wednesday’ – to pray and express their support in a special way. Red Wednesday provides an opportunity for the faithful tooffer prayers for the safety and wellbeing of persecuted Christians and, in this context, to light up cathedrals and churches in red around the island of Ireland.
Following an updated report on persecuted Christians from the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, bishops said, “the continuing persecution of Christians in so many parts of the world is a reason for Irish people to take steps to show solidarity with them through prayer, the sharing of information and to advocate for them with politicians and the wider community.”
ACN was established in 1947 to help serve suffering and persecuted Christians around the world who are in material need as a result of discrimination and oppression. One of the initiatives of ACN Ireland is ‘Red Wednesday’, on 22 November, which occurs in the middle of the ‘Week of Witness and Prayer’ for persecuted Christians across the world, including prayer vigils on Red Wednesday itself.