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Cathedral illuminated in Red for Persecuted Christians
Venice – Epiphany Cathedral in Venice was illuminated in red Nov. 28 as the Diocese participated in the “Courage in Red” initiative to shine the light on the plight of persecuted Christians.
In addition to the illuminating of the Cathedral, a variety of activities took place throughout the Diocese in support of the “Courage in Red” initiative. The various initiatives are part of a worldwide “Courage in Red” campaign by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the international papal charity that provides pastoral and humanitarian aid to persecuted Christian communities.
In a recent report by Aid to the Church in Need on Religious Freedom, it found that some 61 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is not respected. Among them are almost 300 million Christians, or 1 in 7, who live in a country of persecution, subject to violence, arrest, and human rights violations.
An evening prayer vigil was held at Epiphany Cathedral which included prayers, Adoration and Benediction. Led by Father James Shea, he spoke about how the persecution of Christians started with Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on the Cross.
“Christ was the first martyr of what would become many through the years, leading up to today where people are dying for their faith each day,” Father Shea said. “Those being persecuted feel forgotten by the West. Because it’s not happening here, we don’t pay attention. We Christians should pay attention and pray for our brothers and sisters in other nations who are being persecuted and stand together with them in their struggle.”
On Nov. 28, Diocesan Catholic school students wore red in solidarity with persecuted Christians and participated in age-appropriate activities to learn about their plight. Several schools held prayer services focusing on the suffering and martyred Church throughout the world.
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students in Sarasota also watched the new documentary “Christians in the Mirror” which compares and contrasts the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Africa in contrast to other Christian Churches which live in relative peace.
At St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary’s Academy in Sarasota every student wore a red uniform shirt and a red ribbon in honor of those being persecuted for their faith. Each student also created a card of support for persecuted Christian children to send them to those in the Holy Land. Each class prayed one decade of the Rosary in chapel during that week for a county in the Mission Rosary where Christians are being persecuted.
Click the link to view all Diocese of Venice “Courage in RED” photos