Red Wednesday is a day for the church to remember and support Christians around the world who are persecuted and oppressed for their religious beliefs.
This year Red Wednesday will take place on 24 November, and to support parents, teachers and students, Aid to the Church in need has launched a new initiative, #Go2Mass, to help students learn about the reality of anti-Christian persecution in the world today.
#Go2Mass invites students to attend an extra Holy Mass on Red Wednesday on behalf of a Catholic who can’t, because they live under the threat of intimidation, persecution, imprisonment or even death.
Students are given a prayer card that features Christians from Iraq, Pakistan, the Central African Republic and other countries where religious freedoms are under threat.
“Churches and Cathedrals around Australia and the world will be lit with red lights on 24 November and Catholics are encouraged to wear red, or a red ribbon, to raise awareness for persecuted Christians.”
By offering the Mass for that person and others who hope to practice their faith free from repression, students can come to see how their prayers and works support their brothers and sisters in faith around the world.
It also brings home how fortunate Australians are to live our faith in comparative freedom.
Parents and teachers who wish to participate in the #Go2Mass initiative are encouraged to contact Aid to the Church in Need’s Schools Engagement Manager, Cathy Ransom, at [email protected]
Free resources available to teachers include an explanatory presentation, prayer cards and classroom activities.
“One of the things I’ve learnt after working in Catholic schools for over 25 years is that our students are generous-hearted and keen to help those in need, but I’ve also been struck by the need to balance our fundraising endeavours with activities that highlight our prayerful dependence on God,” Ms Ransom said.
#Go2Mass is a unique new initiative because it calls students to “give a gift that doesn’t come out of their pocket, but from their heart and soul.”
“It requires a contribution of their time and presence – perhaps one of the richest gifts any of us can give.”
Churches and Cathedrals around Australia and the world will be lit with red lights on 24 November and Catholics are encouraged to wear red, or a red ribbon, to raise awareness for persecuted Christians.
St Mary’s Cathedral will be lit red following a Red Wednesday Mass at 5:30pm.
Aid to the Church in Need also released its 2021 Religious Freedom in the World report this year.
Religious freedoms in many countries have deteriorated since the last report, published in 2018.
Sixty-seven percent of the world’s population now live under situations of “grave” violations of religious freedom, with the situation worsening in all but one of the 26 most infamous countries.
The report may be read online.