Wednesday, April 01, 2020

ACN-USA News - From a nun in Syria, a message of hope and faith in the time of the coronavirus

An intrepid nun, who coordinates emergency relief in Syria, has responded to the coronavirus pandemic by sending a message of prayer and solidarity to friends and donors of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

In an audio message sent today (March 27), Sister Annie Demerjian, a leading Syria project partner of ACN, tells donors: “do not panic” and “follow the instructions about healthcare.”

A member of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, Sister Annie thanks ACN donors for their near decade-long help providing food baskets and sanitary items, clothing and medicine for the most vulnerable in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.

Sister Annie is pledging to pray for donors in this time of emergency.

Sister Annie says: “It is very painful what the world is passing through at this time. In this situation of the coronavirus, do not panic about the news. Follow the instructions about healthcare.”

Describing how she and her fellow women religious are praying the rosary every day “for the world,” she says: “Our faith is not like pressing a magic button and expecting everything to be OK.

“The pain and suffering are there, but we must also not forget that the resurrection is there every day.”

Drawing on her experiences in Aleppo, in northern Syria, Sister Annie adds: “We need to help those who are most in need. We need to help each other, lift each other’s spirits and things will pass.”

Warning of the impact of the virus on a Syria still reeling from years of conflict, she reports: “In Aleppo, our groups of volunteers are continuing, visiting homes where it is safe to do so and taking great care.

“We are helping the old people, especially because so many of them have no other support, and in Damascus our Sisters are helping some old people, buying what they need so they will not have to go out. People have nothing to rely on. How will they survive?”

She goes on to report on progress with a supermarket voucher scheme for 260 families, especially for elderly people dependent on them, and a rent-payment scheme for the most vulnerable.

Sister Annie adds: “To all our ACN donors, we say very sincerely: ‘Thank you for your enormous generosity. You have helped us for so many years and continue to do so.’

“May God continue to bless you and keep you and your families safe and well.” 

To listen to the full audio message from Sister Annie, please click here.

—John Pontifex


With picture of Sister Annie Demerjian (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Book Review -Lord, Teach Us to Pray, An Anthology, by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

by Rosa M. Sautner, Catholic homeschooling mom of two.

This is a beautiful collection of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's reflections on prayer.  His lessons on prayers are carefully ordered and arranged to help the reader understand what it means to pray, how best to do so, and what means we may use to foster a deeper relationship with God.

The first chapter gives the Archbishop's sermons on the Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross.  The mediations are profound thoughts from someone who has deeply pondered the Passion of our Lord.

The second chapter explains the relationship between Calvary and the Mass.  It is a Missal Companion that offers meditations on the main parts of the Mass.

The third chapter explains the importance of the daily Holy Hour, offering seven meditations and reflections that can be used during a Holy Hour.

The fourth chapter includes the Archbishop's beautiful thoughts on each Station of the Cross.

The fifth chapter offers various reflections on different aspects of the spiritual life, such as faith, prayer and sacrifice, the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother.

The sixth and final chapter includes various prayers taken from different saints to be used as starting points for personal prayer and meditation.

This is a lovely and comprehensive selection of Archbishop Sheen's thoughts and counsels on prayer.  It will make a fitting companion to any collection of the Archbishop's books as well as an excellent source of meditation during Lent and Holy Week.

ACN News -Coronavirus puts heavy economic toll on Christians in the Holy Land

BECAUSE of the COVID-19 pandemic confinement measures, pilgrims are staying away from the Holy Land. The streets of Jerusalem will be quite empty at Easter. The cancelation of pilgrimages will have serious repercussions for the religious tourism industry on which many Christian families in Israel and the Palestinian Territories depend.

The coronavirus in the Holy Land has already forced thousands of pilgrims to leave. Clearly, “many Christians will suffer from this, especially in Bethlehem, because they are employed in the tourist sector,” said Friar Ibrahim Faltas, who is in charge, among other things, of relations with the Palestinian Authority and Israel for the Custody of the Holy Land.

"Without pilgrims, no one works," he told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). This is the more so since everything is interconnected in the economic ecosystem of Christians of the Holy Land: revenues from tourism fund social and pastoral works carried out by Christian institutions through parishes, shrines, schools, hospices, retirement homes, etc. Many Christians can thus have “a worthy job” to support their families, as Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, said recently.

At present, “with the forced closure of all hotels, bars and restaurants, most of our employees are at home, out of work. The same happened in the past at the time of the intifadas. We do not know how we will be able to pay everyone for a long while,” said Friar Alberto Joan Pari, also of the Custody.

He said that all the guest houses run by the Franciscans in the Holy Land are now closed. Souvenir and craft shops, as well as transport companies (taxis, buses, car rentals) are teetering on the edge. The small family-run businesses are not strong enough to withstand such a shock.

In the past, when the Holy Land experienced wartime conditions, some people managed to temporarily find an economic niche outside tourism. However, the pandemic measures have affected all business sectors and everything is closed

He is conscious that the situation could get worse for local Christians if the “Good Friday collection” is postponed, as he fears. This collection is meant to show the solidarity of Catholic Churches around the world with the Church in the Holy Land. It is also one of the main sources of revenue for the upkeep of the holy places, the welcoming of pilgrims and the support for the local Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East in their efforts to ensure that Christians remain in their countries.

“For the moment, the Good Friday collection has not been canceled, even though the faithful in Europe and probably in America will not be able to go to their churches to make their donations. There are plans to move the date for the collection the summer, but nothing is certain,” said Friar Alberto. Without a collection, "the loss would represent 80 percent of our income," warned the Franciscan.

On the Palestinian side, the authorities quarantined the city of Bethlehem in mid-March. Schools and universities (including Christian institutions), mosques and churches are completely closed, including, since March 5, Bethlehem’s Basilica of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus. “In the past, it was only closed in the event of war or siege [as in 2002],” said Friar Alberto.

Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the Holy Land is gloomy. On March 12, the Franciscan Pilgrims Office in Jerusalem canceled until further notice all Masses booked by pilgrimage tour companies at Holy Land shrines. On March 25, Israeli authorities closed the Holy Sepulcher Church.

In Jerusalem, the streets are mostly empty "Just to think that only a month ago, pilgrims couldn’t find a place to sleep! It was very crowded. But now, no one is left, the last American pilgrims left last week," said Friar Ibrahim.

Everyone hopes to see things get back to normal after the summer for the other pilgrimage high season of the year in September and October. Meanwhile, pilgrimage tours have been canceled through August.

ACN sponsored 40 projects in the Holy Land in 2018 and 2019 for a total of more than $750,000.

—Christophe Lafontaine


With picture of deserted front court of the Holy Sepulcher Church (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Introducing EWTN Radio Essentials

Introducing EWTN Radio Essentials
A Spiritual Powerhouse for Listeners in this Difficult Time
Irondale, AL (EWTN) – EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network announces the launch of EWTN Radio Essentials.
“To assist listeners struggling to cope with the closing of so many churches due to the coronavirus pandemic, EWTN has temporarily transformed EWTN Radio Classics into EWTN Radio Essentials, a one-stop source for Mass and devotions,” said EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. “On this channel, listeners will have the opportunity hear Mass eight times per day beginning at 8 a.m. ET. As people of faith know, prayer is what will get us all through this difficult time.”

Between Masses, listeners can join in various devotions, such as the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Angelus, St. Michael’s Chaplet, and more. The schedule also includes programs featuring the wisdom of spiritual icons like Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Father Groeschel, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, Fr. George Rutler, and, of course, Mother Angelica.

You can find both EWTN Global Catholic Radio and EWTN Radio Essentials by downloading the EWTN app and clicking on “Live Streams” and then scrolling down to either “Listen Live – EWTN Radio” or “Listen Live – Radio Essentials.” Alternatively, you can access the channel online, by going to www.ewtn.com, clicking on Radio at the top of the page, then “Listen Live,” and finally click on “United States” where you will see a drop-down menu with “Radio Essentials.”

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 38th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 300 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the largest Catholic websites in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.

ACN-USA News - The coronavirus in Venezuela—‘a difficult moment and a trial’

VENEZUELA has recorded its first several dozen coronavirus infections. The country has already shut its borders and imposed an obligatory social quarantine as of March 16. It is a situation that poses a great threat to a population that is already extremely vulnerable, given the very fragile state of the Venezuelan hospital system.



The Venezuelan bishops’ conference has also taken preventative measures, including the suspension of public Masses. In a March 15 statement, the bishops declared:



“This is a difficult moment and a trial, from which we will emerge victorious, thanks to our faith and hope, which must now be expressed in works of charity and solidarity. And so we invite all our brothers and sisters within our nation to draw closer to God.”



“During these times of a healthcare crisis we must remind ourselves that the Lord is in our midst and will not abandon us. He is the Rock who saves us.”



A doctor working in one of the main hospital centers in the country, who asked not to be identified, told Aid in the Church in Need (ACN) that “the Venezuelan hospital system is not ready for the great emergency that could result from numerous people being infected by Covid-19.”



“The country’s precarious situation of the hospitals and the shortage of medicines is already well known throughout the world.”



Given the shortage in Venezuela of testing equipment to determine if people have been infected by the coronavirus, it is impossible to have any real idea of how many Venezuelans are in fact victims of Covid-19.



There is likewise great concern among those members of the population who must work in order to earn a living and feed themselves, and now are prevented from doing so on account of the enforcement of social distancing.



“I don’t know how long we will have to put up with the quarantine, but if the virus doesn’t kill us, we will die of hunger instead,” said Ester Chac√≥n, a small trader.



On Sunday March 22, the 150-plus priests of the Diocese of San Cristobal were asked by Bishop Mario Moronta, to ring their church bells at 12 noon and—while observing the social distancing rules—to bring the Blessed Sacrament to the doors of their churches and “from there to bless the whole city, the whole country, the neighboring country of Colombia and the whole world, calling on God to free us from this pandemic.”



At the same time Bishop Mario Moronta called on the authorities to “guarantee its citizens safe access to food, medicines, and medical care and to ensure that there are no power cuts or shortages of water and other essential services.”



“We also call on them to take note of the immoral practices of certain persons who are exploiting the health emergency by unreasonably raising the prices of essential commodities for all the people. Those who are behaving in this manner have no fear of God,” he added.



ACN has been funding numerous aid campaigns to help the Church in Venezuela. During 2019 it gave more than $1M in aid, for the support of priests and religious, for priestly formation and pastoral care and for various emergency aid projects such as food kitchens, boreholes and electricity generators.



—Johan Pacheco





With picture of the Blessed Sacrament in the streets of San Cristobal (© ACN)





Editor’s Notes:



kin-logo red 10mm rgb



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.



Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.



The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.



For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Friday, March 20, 2020

Looking For Mass And Adoration During Virus Outbreak? EWTN Is There For You



PRESS RELEASE
March 19, 2020
 





For More Information, Please Contact:
Michelle Johnson
Director of Communications
EWTN Global Catholic Network
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, Alabama 35210-2198 USA
(205) 795-5769 - Office
(205) 441-6248 - Cell
(205) 795-5781 - Fax
mjohnson@ewtn.com


Looking For Mass And Adoration? EWTN Is There For You
Irondale, AL (EWTN) – As the coronavirus outbreak affects an increasing number of people around the world, many dioceses and parishes have taken the extraordinary measure of cancelling the celebration of public Masses. In other cases, they have dispensed the elderly and those with health issues from their Sunday obligation.
"During this extraordinary time in which people around the world are experiencing so much fear and anxiety, I invite Catholics and people around the world to tune into EWTN for live broadcasts of the Mass at 8 a.m. ET every day from Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, Alabama," said EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. [Encores air at noon ET, 7 p.m. ET, and midnight ET]. "The mission of EWTN is to bring the light of Christ to a world starved for Truth. My prayer is that, during these dark days, people will be able to find hope through our programming."

Watch on TV or streaming live here. Missed the live stream? Get today's daily readings and homily at this link.

The Mass can also be heard via EWTN's radio affiliates, on SIRIUS/XM Channel #130, online at this link, and live on EWTN's Facebook page at 8 a.m. ET here.

Click here to quickly discover the channel on which to find EWTN on your local cable or satellite provider, and here to find the television schedule. Note: While on the aforementioned television schedule link, viewers outside the U.S. should click on "United States" to see a drop down menu of EWTN's TV schedules via satellites around the world. Click here to find the EWTN Radio schedule.
In addition to the Mass, EWTN has begun offering viewers the opportunity for Adoration of Our Lord, both on-air and on social media, via a live feed from Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale. In the U.S., adoration will immediately follow the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at approximately 3:20 p.m. ET and remain on-air for about 10 minutes. However, viewers can adore Our Lord from 8 a.m. ET (just after daily Mass) to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, via EWTN’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ewtnonline

For all of the myriad ways to access EWTN, please go to EWTN Everywhere. Our family of news and social media sites includes EWTN's Facebook page, which frequently broadcasts various programs, including the Mass and other devotionals, as well as links to other helpful resources.
Editor's Note: Dioceses or parishes who would like to share EWTN’s daily Mass on their Facebook page are welcome to send an email with this request to dcowden@ewtn.com. We will be happy to set up a crossposting relationship. Diocesan Communications Directors who would like to embed an EWTN player on their websites in order to stream Daily Mass should contact their respective EWTN Marketing Manager or twenzel@ewtn.com.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 38th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 300 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the largest Catholic websites in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.


ACN-USA News - Burkina Faso - 'Our country runs the risk of disappearing’


MORE AND MORE, Christians in Burkina Faso are becoming victims of Islamist persecution. In a gesture of solidarity, a small delegation from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) visited the West African country at the beginning of Lent. ACN spoke with Father Pierre Claver Belemsigri, the secretary general of the episcopal conference of Burkina and Niger.


Burkina Faso has always been proud of the harmonious coexistence of Christians and Muslims. Nonetheless, many people are complaining that the Islam of today now has little in common with the Islam of their childhood. Do you agree?
We have been seeing changes for around 20 or 30 years now. This is due to the fact that for some years now certain Islamic ideologies originating on the Arabian Peninsula have been imported here. Young people are going there to work or study and returning with a particular vision of Islam that potentially has repercussions for our society and the coexistence between the different religions.

How is change evident?
In the past, it was always the custom for those of both communities to gather together for all each other’s major events, both the happy and the sad ones. For example, Christians would congratulate the Muslim members among their relatives on their religious feasts, and vice versa.

To clarify, it should be noted that there frequently are members of different faiths within a single family. Nonetheless, or perhaps precisely because of this, we have always celebrated these feasts together. Among the older generation this is still the case to this day. But among some of the younger people it is already by no means so self-evident as it once was, on account of the influence of certain radical Islamic tendencies.

Some say the jihadists are simply using Islam as a weapon and that they are in fact motivated by something other than religion. What do you think about this?

There are those terrorists—whether from Burkina or from outside—who with guns in their hand really want to force the whole of Africa to become Islamic. They want to introduce sharia law to Burkina Faso.

But there are also others who are using Islam as a pretext to advance their financial or criminal interests. It is enough to know that they are killing Muslims too. Often the violence in our country is also linked to ancient ethnic rivalries or land disputes. In such cases Islam is no more than a pretext to enable people to advance their material and economic interests by means of violence.

Dozens of Christians have been killed in the last few years. Who exactly is attacking them? Are they jihadists or simply criminals?
Often, we don’t even know who it is who is attacking us. We don’t know our enemy. In most cases, no one claims responsibility for the attacks.

Is the faith growing in your country? Already a quarter of the population belongs to the Catholic Church.

The faith is growing. And not simply on account of demographic growth, but also because of genuine conversions to Christianity.

Does this not have consequences for them? After all, in many Muslim countries conversion is punishable by death.
Not to my knowledge, not here. In some circles there may be threats and social sanctions. But that depends greatly on the particular social environment. I have personally witnessed the baptism of an entire Muslim family. The daughter, who had attended a Catholic school run by nuns, was the first to convert, but then she brought her entire family to the faith.

Besides, the recent terrorist attacks against Christians have actually strengthened the faith of the people. Despite the danger, the people are proud to be Catholics.

Nevertheless, this terrorism represents a very great challenge for the Church. How is she responding to it?
We are thinking hard about the best way to respond to this challenge. We are planning to organize a large forum this year, devoted to questions around pastoral care and security. It will be an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a Christian and how to live our life in the new context of insecurity and attacks on places of worship. It will undoubtedly be necessary to find new ways of expressing our Catholic faith. All these questions will no doubt be addressed at the forum.

Faced by this terrorism, what are you hoping for your country?

The Lord is in control, Christ is alive. Our country has been witness to this on many occasions in its recent history. I hope that the same thing will happen now, in the face of this terrorism. There needs to be a national awakening and a popular resistance. Weapons alone are not enough.

Sadly, the rest of the world doesn’t seem to have understood that our country runs the risk of disappearing if we do not all unite against the terrorists, in prayer, unity and solidarity. These are the challenges we must face in order to put an end to terrorism.

—Oliver Maksan


With picture of Father Belemsigri (© ACN)   


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Thursday, March 12, 2020

ACN-USA News - Bishops lead peaceful protest against ‘high level of insecurity’ in Nigeria


A great number of Nigerian Catholics led by the Country’s Episcopal Conference took to the streets on March 1st, 2020, to protest the high level of insecurity in the country in a bid to draw attention of the federal government and the international community to the plight Christians and to pray for peace in the nation. 

The procession which took the form of a peaceful-prayer march saw the bishops, priests and the faithful dressed in black and carrying placards bearing several inscriptions such as, “Thou shall not kill”, “Life is scared”, “Government rise to your responsibility”, and “God hates injustice”.

Addressing the congregation during the protest, the President of the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze said: “Today we the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria with significant support of priests, consecrated persons and our beloved lay faithful embark on a peaceful protest against the high level of insecurity in every part of Nigeria.”

“We are on this peaceful protest on behalf of the over 22 million Catholics and over 100 million Christians in Nigeria. We are protesting against the brutal killings of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram, and terrorists’ herdsmen.”

“We are gathered here to register our protest against the kidnapping for ransom in every part of Nigeria. We are gathered to mourn the women, children, babies, and men who have been killed by the terrorists. We are gathered to let the Federal Government of Nigeria know that we are tired of hearing from them that Boko Haram has been “technically defeated” even when they still attack with impunity.”

The Archbishop lamented that the Government’s response to terrorist attacks is far below average. “The failure to protect innocent people from relentless attacks is evil. The lack of prosecution of terrorists is evil,” he said. He challenged the President of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari to fulfill his responsibility of protecting lives and property and bring those behind the killings to justice.

Making a passionate appeal to the international community, he said: “We the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria call on the international community to come to the aid of Nigeria. We must see ourselves as a global family in the world.”

“The tears and pains of the helpless persecuted Christians in Nigeria should be well reported in the West. Western Journalists and Western Political Leaders should give Boko Haram the attention they give to other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.”

“If the Western media give comprehensive steadfast coverage to the atrocities happening in Nigeria, they will discover that people are dying daily in Nigeria from the hands of Boko Haram about the same way people are dying in Syria.”

Earlier in his homily at the opening Mass of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria’s Plenary Session held few hours before the protest, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said that: “We cannot pretend that all is well with Nigeria. We are battling with terrorists, cultists, criminals, kidnappers, economic saboteurs, unscrupulous political leaders, religious bigots and partisan traditional rulers.”

“It seems everyone is just passing by, including those who shape our policies and into whose hands we have entrusted our security, the unity and stability, the present and the future of our children.”

He prayed: “May our prayers wipe away evil from our land, soaked by the blood of innocent citizens and melt the stony hearts of people who rejoice at the suffering of other brothers and sisters whom they keep in captivity.”

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Fr. Sebastain Sanni, a Priest of the Archdiocese of Abuja who could be seen carrying the placard “Thou shall not kill”, explained: “We are all on black to mourn not only our Christian brothers and sisters that were killed by Boko Haram but to protest the collapse of security in the country, the escalated activities of Boko Haram and the government’s lame response.”

“It is raining now but this does not discourage us. We are in the rain praying the Rosary.”

Also speaking, a lay faithful, Ugochukwu Okereke, who participated in the protest alongside his wife told ACN that he was very pleased with this initiative by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, calling it “a step in the right direction.”

He decried the unfortunate situation where Christians are kidnapped and their families asked to pay huge sums of money as ransom, only to be killed after such monies were paid. He hopes for an end to all the evils in the Country.

This is a very difficult time for the faithful in Nigeria as kidnappings and killings of Christians has multiplied in recent months. ACN invites Christians all over the world to pray for peace in Nigeria and other Countries were Christians continue to suffer and die for their faith, as well as for all victims of terror and their families.

—Grace Attu


With picture of a demonstrator in Nigeria (© ACN)   


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org