22 November 2023 is ‘Red Wednesday’, an annual campaign to support those Christians persecuted for their faith organised by Catholic charity ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ (ACN). In 2022 ‘Open Doors’ reported that persecution of Christians had increased in the 50 worst offending countries.
Red Wednesday offers an opportunity for us to show solidarity with those who suffer for their faith by wearing red, safely lighting a building red or offering prayers. This year there is a special focus on Africa. This continent contains some of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian.
There has been a 57% increase in violent attacks and a 70% jump in fatalities in north west Nigeria as well as Chad and Niger. Terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and Somalia accounted for 77% of all violent events reported across African in 2022. In Democratic Republic of Congo there 700,000 people displaced and in Burkina Faso 2 million are displaced.
In the space of 12 years Nigeria has seen 43,000 Christians killed by terrorists, 17,500 churches attacked, 2,000 Christian schools attacked. There are 4 million internally displaced people.
Red Wednesday allows us to break the silence and tell their stories so we can secure a better and more peaceful future for Christians in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Parishes, communities and individuals can get involved by pledging to pray the Rosary, asking your MP what the UK government is doing to help stop persecution, by helping to raise £100,000 for African by the end of 2023 through your donations or attending events or Masses in the Cathedral or in your Parish.