Persecuted Christians need more than prayer Print this post

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic


In response to repeated calls of Pope Francis, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops designated Nov. 26, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, as “A Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians” that initiated, “Solidarity in Suffering”, a Week of Awareness and Education.

During his homily at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, Bishop Frank J. Dewane spoke sincerely about the need to help our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering persecution around the world. The numbers of persecuted Christians is growing and the lasting impacts have been devastating.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane delivers a homily of the plight of persecuted Christians around the world during a Mass at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice on Nov. 26.

As the Gospel of Matthew (25:31-46) stated on the solemnity, we are each called to take action for our fellow brothers and sisters as if they are Christ themselves. “We can’t ignore that and find ourselves on the wrong side as it relates to this issue. We hear that the Good Shepherd takes action, and we need to ask: What’s my role?”

Bishop Dewane shared an emotional story about how many times when young Christians are born in the Holy Land, they are signed with a cross on their wrist. This is done as a homemade tattoo and serves as a lasting symbol of their faith, the Bishop explained.

“When ISIS (the Islamic State terrorist group) began killing the Christians, government and the Church leaders in the area told them to stop doing that,” the Bishop continued. “They said no. That was who they were. In fact, it meant their life to them and they were ready to give their life. We have to be sympathetic and be in solidarity to do more as it is written in the Gospel. They also knew what they had to do – they said no because this is their life, their faith, their land and they wanted to die in their homeland – and many did.”

Bishop Dewane said such sacrifice and commitment to one’s faith cannot be ignored and must move us each to action.

“We have to find a way to support that,” the Bishop added. “It is easy to think nothing can be done because it is so far away. We must rise up and do more. To help a particular people – that stranger who we welcome from afar as we heard in the Gospel. We need to support the people who live in the cradle of Christianity and encourage them through prayer and action.”

In addition to prayer, the Bishop encouraged the faithful to speak to their Congressional representatives to intervene on behalf of the persecuted Christians. He also suggested supporting organizations which directly support the Christians in the Holy Land, including Catholic Relief Services, the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association and the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land on which the Bishop serves as a board member.

The U.S. Bishops’ website has a number of resources on how you can help:

Prayer for Persecuted Christians below in English and Spanish:

O God of all the nations,

the One God who is and was

and always will be,

in your providence

you willed that your Church

be united to the suffering of your Son.

Look with mercy on your servants

who are persecuted for their faith in you.

Grant them perseverance and courage

to be worthy imitators of Christ.

Bring your wisdom upon leaders of nations

to work for peace among all peoples.

May your Spirit open conversion

for those who contradict your will,

that we may live in harmony.

Give us the grace to be united

in truth and freedom,

and to always seek your will in our lives.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Prayer composed by

Archbishop William E. Lori, Baltimore


Oh Dios de todas las naciones,

Dios Único que es y fue

y siempre será,

en tu providencia

quieres que tu Iglesia

esté unida al sufrimiento de tu Hijo.

Mira con misericordia a tus siervos

perseguidos por su fe en Ti.

Concédeles perseverancia y valor

para ser dignos imitadores de Cristo.

Derrama tu sabiduría sobre los jefes de las naciones

para que trabajen por la paz entre los pueblos.

Que tu Espíritu obre la conversión

de aquellos que contradicen tu voluntad,

para que podamos vivir en armonía.

Danos la gracia de estar unidos

en verdad y libertad,

y buscar siempre tu voluntad en nuestras vidas.

Por Cristo nuestro Señor. Amén.

Nuestra Señora, Reina de la Paz, ruega por nosotros.

Oración compuesta por el

Arzobispo William E. Lori, Baltimore


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