As Christians commemorate persecuted Christians around the world, the Primate of All-Ireland is urging the faithful to pray for the gift of courage, the grace of witness and loyalty to Christ.
“Many churches and public buildings in Ireland and Britain are being lit up in red this week, and people are encouraged to wear a red item of clothing to help shine a light on the reality of Christian persecution across the world, and to highlight the injustices perpetrated against other minority and faith groups,” said the Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin.
“I thank God for the freedom of worship and religion that we enjoy on this island, a freedom that we did not always enjoy and which is denied so many people in our world today.
“I recognise that to be like Christ in an increasingly secularised world means being different, counter-cultural, and not easily swayed by the prevailing attitudes and opinions around us,” he continued.
“On this #RedWednesday I invite you to pray for the gift of courage, the grace of witness and loyalty to Christ for Christians all over the world and especially for those who continue to be challenged, attacked, displaced or even murdered for what they believe in.”
Archbishop Martin will lead a ‘Liturgy of Witness’ this evening to observe Red Wednesday in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, as part of a special ‘Week of Witness’.
The ‘Week of Witness’ is an invitation to Christians across the island of Ireland to stand in solidarity with, and bear witness to, the heroic example of our persecuted brothers and sisters in faith across the world.
During the celebration, two young people will speak with Archbishop Martin on how they witness faith in their every day lives.
After this evening’s ‘Liturgy of Witness’, Archbishop Martin will launch a new book in The Synod Hall of the Cathedral titled Not might nor fear – Prayers and Reflections on the new Statue of St Oliver Plunkett, edited by Canon Benedict Fee.
Tomorrow, the archbishop will celebrate 10am Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral and during the Mass, special prayers will be offered for all who give witness to their faith in the world today.
After Mass, Archbishop Martin will join with all the young people who are to be confirmed in the Cathedral Parish this year, in leading a ‘Walk of Witness’ within the Cathedral.
As part of the walk, prayers will be offered that all of us may respond to the call to be more faithful in giving witness to the faith in our homes and in our communities.
Picture: The Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).