A vigil for persecuted Christians
Prayer and information on an April day
Montreal, Friday April 15, 2016 – At 82 years of age, Msgr Jean-Pierre Joly continues to fan the flame of his priesthood. And even though he is retired, Msgr Joly is involved in numerous Bible groups, does volunteer work and gives a hand to parishes throughout the Laurentians wherever he is needed. One day, a radio program inspired him to put together a vigil. His inspiration turned into a concrete reality and will be held Wednesday April 27 at 7:30pm at the Saint Sauveur des Monts parish.
“I was in my car when I heard a program called Plus on est de fous, plus on lit (roughly translated as ‘The more crazies we are, the more we read’). Someone had a book called The black book of the condition of Christians in the world (with the collaboration of 70 contributors)*,” he explains to Mario Bard of Aid to the Church in Need.
“The person who had presented the book said they were profoundly surprised by this situation. I bought the book, and I read it through.” The first read touched him profoundly, so much so that he met with Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need, the pontifical charity which has been building awareness for over 60 years about the situation of Christians who have suffered persecution as a result of their faith. “I discovered ACN and I strongly encourage others to do so,” he said.
“Following this, and for many months, I tried to sensitize people.” And how did they react when he spoke to them about it? “The majority ask themselves: What can we do? I feel that they are moved,” he said. “There is also the fact that Pope Francis insists often on the testimonies of these people as a source of renewal for Christians in the West,” he made clear.
A lack of information
The vigil to be held this coming April 27, organized by the group ‘l’Étincelle des Laurentides’ in collaboration with the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need will, of course, be an occasion to pray for and to be in solidarity with persecuted Christians all around the world. But it will also be an opportunity to provide information about those who are persecuted because of their Christian faith – 75% of cases of religious persecution in the world, representing close to 200 million people.
Msgr Joly who hopes to continue his work of sensitizing people after the vigil says “people are not well-informed by the media.” Moreover, he feels this difficult situation gives an opportunity to Christians in the West to revisit the Gospel, “where it tells us these things will happen. That his [Jesus] disciples must expect persecution, as it is said in the last prayer of Jesus in the Gospel of John.”
And there are also two letters from Peter, “who are addressed to persecuted Christians.” Msgr. Joly recalls that one of the principal characters of the Church, Saint Paul, was himself a former persecutor. This story convinces him all the more today that, “even a persecutor can change,” and offers hope of an even greater importance in this Year of Mercy.
Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30pm
at the parish of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, 205 Rue Principale
To get to the Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts
(about 1 km from exit 60)
From Montréal :
Take l’Autoroute 15 Nord to Exit 60.
Take your first left, Rue Robert to your left (overpass)
Next, right turn at the lights Chemin Jean-Adam
Turn right on Avenue de la Gare/QC-364 E
Turn right on Rue Principale/QC-364 E
For additional Information:
If you are in the Laurentians: 514-795-5515
All other regions: 514-932-0552, Ext 224 or 221
*Appeared in October 2013, this volume coordinated by Samuel Lieven, incorporates the contributions of 70 people including Timothy Radcliffe, Andrea Riccardi and Msgr. Jean-Michel di Falco
Article by Mario Bard, ACN Canada
Translated and adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin