A first in Canada
Montreal, Friday November 16 – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Rimouski, Hearst, and Quebec and more: Wednesday November 21st, close to 50 activities planned, each one connected to Red Wednesday (#RedWednesday) will take place in dioceses across Canada. Initiated a few years ago by the international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), this event helps to sensitize and inform people about the situation of 200 million Christians who regularly live situations of persecution and discrimination because of their faith, and in a particularly acute way in at least 30 countries.
This is the fifth Mass for persecuted Christians to be held in Montreal where the event saw it’s beginning in Canada. Msgr Christian Lépine will preside over the liturgy which will begin at 7:30pm and will be preceded by a 5 à 7 gathering around the subject of religious freedom – created for youth 18-35 years old, to be held in the basement of the Cathedral.
In Toronto, Cardinal Archbishop Thomas Collins will preside over the interfaith prayer vigil beginning at 6:30pm. In Alberta’s metropolis, Calgary and greater area throughout the diocese many events have been planned including a Rosary Prayer followed by a Mass at Saint Mary’s University. In Versant la Noel, at Robert Lebel’s, composer of the theme song for World Youth Days in Toronto in 2002 (doors open at 6:15).
“This is a first experience for us which is starting on a very positive note!” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director at the ACN Canada. “We are very happy that so many people are willing to take part in the event and willing to share with us in this deep concern with regard to the situation of persecuted Christians and victims of discrimination in the world. It is also a way to demonstrate one’s solidarity with those who are suffering.”
Some elements that will be present in various buildings across the country – the doorways to the Cathedrals in Montreal and Toronto for example, as well as the interior of the Saint Michael’s Toronto cathedral, will be lit with red lights, the colour of the blood of the martyrs. The ecumenical pavilion at Versant-la-Noel will be robed in red as well.
Many nations deprived of a fundamental right
In his letter inviting the faithful of his diocese to participate in the event, the Archbishop of Calgary, Msgr William T. McGrattan, underlined, “while it is true that Canadian Christians are facing increasing challenges in the practice of our faith, we must also continue to express gratitude for the many liberties which our country provides. Sadly, many nations across the globe continue to deprive their citizens of even the most basic religious freedoms.
Currently, over 30 events have been organized in his diocese, generally masses and moments of prayer prepared as acts of solidarity with persecuted Christians suffering from severe forms of discrimination.
ACN’s 2018 report on Religious Freedom launch date: November 22
“This Red Wednesday is also in accord with the publication of our Religious Freedom in the World Report 2016-2018 which will be launched the following day, Thursday November 22, at the Vatican,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde for whom this event represents a shift in the understanding Catholics here have of religious persecution lived by Christians. “I think that people are beginning to grasp the scope of the problem and realize that article 18 of the Universal Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that should ensure the right to religious freedom in all signatory countries, is far from being respected.”
This will be the fourteenth edition of the ACN report on Religious Freedom in the World. It examines the situation in over 190 different countries and documents not only the current legal situation but also the abuses against the right to religious freedom over the time period 2016–2018. The report also details developments and changes in the situation in a number of the most critically threatened countries documented in the previous report of 2014-2016.
Nigeria: Fulani Herdsmen – mostly Muslim – threaten farmers – mostly Christians. Economic or religious conflict? Answer November 22nd
(Photo: © Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Directorate of Social Communications)
The report will only be available online in Canada, in French and in English at the following website : www.religion-freedom-report.org. An executive summary will be available on ACN Canada’s website: www.aed-canada.org.
For more information:
Source: Mario Bard, Information, Aid to the Church in Need Canada
Amanda Griffin, English Information, ext. 221 or toll free at 1-800-585-6333
Website: acn-canada.org Cell. Phone: 514-967-8340
*ACN’s articles are given freely for partial or full publication on condition that ©Aid to the Church in Need is mentioned as the source. If you would like to use an original photo, or for an interview with the National Director, Marie-Claude Lalonde, please contact us at the coordinates above.Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, is a Pontifical Charity which has as Mission to provide assistance to Catholics wherever the Church suffers from poverty or persecution. The international charity operates offices in 23 countries including Canada, who together support projects in over 145 countries.