St. Michael’s Cathedral was bathed in red light on Wednesday, Nov. 21 in solidarity with Christians around the world who face violence for their faith. Photo by Michael Swan

Red Wednesday shines light on persecuted Christians

  • November 22, 2018

Just like Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and over 1,300 local churches and schools in the Philippines, Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral was bathed in red light on Wednesday, Nov. 21 in solidarity with Christians around the world who have lost their homes, their families and even their lives to violence and persecution.

The global #RedWednesday event has been organized by the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need. It is designed to be ecumenical, inviting Christians everywhere and of all denominations and traditions to pray together for contemporary martyrs.

Aid to the Church in Need calculates that today about 200 million Christians cannot practice their faith freely. The #RedWednesday event was launched Nov. 21 (in some cities it will be marked the following Wednesday), just before Aid to the Church in Need releases its 2016-18 global report on religious freedom.

The red light glowing throughout the interior of St. Michael’s Cathedral is in memory of “Christian blood, which is shed in these days more than at any time in history,” Cardinal Thomas Collins told an ecumenical prayer service at which he stood beside Anglican Bishop of Toronto Colin Johnson.

The cardinal said that Canadian media ignores the persecution Christians suffer.

“In Canada, it is as if this is not happening,” he said.

While Toronto Catholics will always stand ready to offer a safer and more hopeful life to refugees, refugee sponsorship will never solve the fundamental problems Christians face in countries where they have been forced to flee for their lives, the Cardinal suggested.

“They should not be forced to flee their homelands,” Collins said. “We must shed light on this evil.”

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