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ICC Note:

This week, the US Catholic Church is focusing its attention on persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria by having a week long observance of prayer and education. Christians in both countries, and throughout the region, have suffered greatly because of their faith. ISIS perpetuated a genocide which targeted Christians, and other extremist groups quickly followed in their path. However, Christians faced persecution even before the rise of ISIS. They were often treated like second-class citizens, and the law was often absent when it came to protecting Christians. Unless these problems are remedied, Christians in the region will always be a target of persecution.

 

11/27/2017 Iraq (American Magazine) –    The U.S. Catholic Church will focus attention on the plight of persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria with a day of prayer on Nov. 26 and a weeklong observance to raise awareness and educate people about their situation.

The effort is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association and Aid to the Church in Need.

A Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians on Nov. 26 initiates “Solidarity in Suffering,” a week of awareness and education that runs through Dec. 3.

The prayer day falls on the feast of Christ the King, which “is a fitting time to reflect on religious freedom and Christians around the world who are being persecuted in unheard of numbers,” said a U.S.C.C.B. announcement.

“To focus attention on the plight of Christians and other minorities is not to ignore the suffering of others,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, U.S.C.C.B. president. “Rather by focusing on the most vulnerable members of society, we strengthen the entire fabric of society to protect the rights of all.”

He made the comments in his presidential address on Nov. 13 during the bishops’ fall assembly in Baltimore. He asked the U.S. church to “come together in a special way for a day of prayer for persecuted Christians to express our solidarity with those who are suffering.”

The special awareness week “is an opportunity to inform people about the dire situation facing Christians in places like Iraq and Syria where our faith has been present since the time of the Apostles, but could soon disappear,” said Carl Anderson, the chief executive officer of the Knights of Columbus. “It is a time to pray, and to offer help and crucial hope to those who have lost everything but their faith for their faith.”

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