ACN’s #RedWeek highlights religious freedom and persecution of Christians
THE INTERNATIONAL RED WEEK CAMPAIGN INITIATED BY AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED (ACN) TO CALL ATTENTION TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS will take place this year between November 16 and 23.
People all over the world will be reminded of the plight of persecuted Christians and the lack of religious freedom in many countries during the month of November, with buildings and landmarks in a number countries illuminated in red, along with a series of special initiatives, prayer actions and testimonies by witnesses of suffering Christian communities
The #Redweek will start with the official launch of “Persecuted and Forgotten?” 2022, report on Christians oppressed because of their faith in the years 2020–22, in the Houses of Parliament, in London Nov. 16. The report supplements ACN’s Religious Freedom Report. Prepared by ACN national office in the UK, it specifically addresses the worldwide situation of persecuted Christians every two years. The report will also be presented in other countries.
Also on Nov. 16, a Mass will be celebrated in the St. Karl Church in Vienna. So far, at least 94 churches in Austria have confirmed their participation, by either lighting the buildings in red or by holding prayer events. In South America, ACN Colombia has invited sister Gloria Narvaez, a nun who was held by Islamist terrorists for five years, to share her experience with audiences in Bogota and Medellin.
Although the events and actions are distributed throughout the month of November, many of the prayer nights and testimonies around the world will be held on Nov. 23, #RedWednesday. Ten cathedrals will be illuminated in Australia, and the Cathedral in Canberra, Australia, will hold a Night of Witness prayer event.
The United Kingdom has prepared a wide variety of events both in England and in Scotland, including the “Taste of Home” initiative, asking people to gather with friends and families and share a traditional meal from countries where Christians are persecuted, during which they can exchange stories about the suffering church, pray and raise money to support refugees.
in France, bells will ring out from 100 churches all over the country and a round-table discussion will take place in the Les Bernardins, Paris, followed by an evening prayer vigil at Montmartre on Nov. 23, featuring a testimony by Archbishop Ndagoso from Kaduna, Nigeria.
ACN Germany has invited guests from Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan to give witness in the cathedrals of Regensburg, Mainz and Augsburg, among others. In total, 60 German parishes have confirmed their participation in #RedWeek.
Red Week traces its roots to Brazil in 2015, when the local ACN office in Sao Paulo had the Christ the Redeemer monument lit in red to mark the persecution of Christians in Iraq. In April 2016, inspired by the same idea, ACN Italy illuminated the Fontana di Trevi. ACN UK took the idea further and created #RedWednesday to commemorate all persecuted Christians on a specific Wednesday in November, and this was later expanded to a whole week in many countries. In the UK, the initiative has been embraced not only by different Christian confessions, but also by other religions, in a show of solidarity.
This year ACN is recommending that churches keep their red illumination on only for short amounts of time, or replace it by the ringing of bells, in view of the applicable energy saving regulations.
ACN supports more than 5,000 projects in around 140 countries each year, helping Christians live out their faith wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.
The following is a sampling of events already confirmed. Others are still being prepared. You can find more information on national office websites, or by using the hashtag #RedWeek on social media.
Ten cathedrals will be lit in red and will hold masses or prayer services Nov. 23. The Cathedral in Canberra will hold a Night of the Witness prayer event. More info: www.aidtochurch.org/redwednesday
All parishes in Austria have been invited to light up their churches on Nov. 16, and a Mass will be celebrated in St. Karlskirche, Vienna. So far, at least 94 churches have confirmed they will be participating. More info: https://www.kircheinnot.at/rw/
On Nov. 16, there will be Mass and a vigil. Several buildings will be illuminated in red throughout the country. EN: https://acn-canada.org/red-wednesday/ FR: https://acn-canada.org/fr/mercredi-rouge/
Churches will be lit in red Nov. 14-18, and sister Gloria Narvaez, who was kidnapped by jihadists in Mali and held for almost five years, will be speaking at conferences in Bogotá and in Medellín.
A round table discussion will be held at “Les Bernardins” Nov. 22, and on Nov. 23 an evening prayer vigil will be held at Montmartre, while 100 churches will ring their bells all over France. https://aed-france.org/evenement/mercredirouge/
Six events will be held with the participation of several German bishops, and parishes are being invited to get involved in the campaign, which will run the second half of November, with 60 parishes having confirmed already. For more information: www.redwednesday.de
There will be a mass with first-hand witness accounts by persecuted Christians in the Cuernavaca Cathedral Oct. 27
In The Netherlands at least 100 churches will be lit red Nov. 23. Many of them host evening prayers or celebrate Mass for the intention of those persecuted and forgotten for their faith. www.redwednesday.nl
Beginning two weeks beforehand, dioceses will be invited to celebrate and mark Red Wednesday through masses and the illumination of their buildings in red.
The “Persecuted and Forgotten” report will be presented in different parts of the country Nov. 19 to 27. Nov. 24, or during the days prior, some parishes will be illuminating their churches in red, a prayer day for victims of religious persecution will be held, and there will be stronger presence of articles and interviews in national media.
A benefit concert focusing on persecuted Christians will be held on Nov. 19, and buildings will be illuminated in red Nov. 23.
Churches will be lit in red throughout the country Nov. 12-20.
Nov. 23 there will be a rally, a liturgy and talks in London, as well as a parliamentary event in Scotland. As usual, churches, cathedrals and secular buildings will be approached with a request that they will be lit red during November. Plus, prayer and fundraising events will be held by schools, religious groups, and universities.