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RED Wednesday 2022

RED Wednesday Mass
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Live Stream Wednesday 23rd November 7.30pm
Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church, Chatswood 

With Most Rev Anthony Randazzo DD JCL
Bishop of Broken Bay

Chatswood Parish New with red added 2The Diocese of Broken Bay will join a worldwide Aid to the Church in Need initiative remembering and praying for persecuted Christians on Wednesday 23 November.

The façade Our Lady of Dolours Church, Chatswood will be floodlit in red on the night as a sign of solidarity with those who suffer with the Bishop of Broken Bay, Most Rev Anthony Randazzo DD JCL celebrating Mass at 7.30pm.

All are welcome to join together in support of the Christians who are unable to speak freely, and those of all faiths who are robbed of their religious freedom and persecuted for their beliefs.

During the week the Church will also feature the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine as we also remember those suffering terribly in the war.

Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organisation for war refugees, and declared a Pontifical Foundation by Pope Benedict XVI, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is the only international Catholic charity dedicated to the pastoral and spiritual support of suffering and persecuted Christians. The work is not funded by Church or State but relies solely on the offering of benefactors arounds the world.

Aid to the Church in Need launched its first RED Wednesday in 2016 to promote their latest Religious Freedom in the World Report, Cathedrals, Churches and public buildings in the UK were bathed in red – symbolises the blood shed by millions of martyrs.

This has now become a global tradition but sadly the number of people persecuted for their beliefs has also increased.

Religious freedom is violated in almost one third of the world’s countries (31.6%), where two thirds of the world’s population lives. Out of a total of 198 countries 62 face very severe violations of religious freedom. The number of people living in these countries is close to 5.2 billion.

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Stand Up for Faith and Freedom

The façade of Our Lady of Dolours, Chatswood will be illuminated during the week of November 21-25. Blue and yellow floodlighting will represent the colours of Ukraine on Monday 21, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 November and red floodlighting will represent persecuted Christians on Tuesday 22nd November and Wednesday 23rd November.

Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Anthony Randazzo on Wednesday 23 November at 7.30pm after which a representative from Aid to the Church in Need will give a short address about the work of the organisation. Refreshments will be available in the forecourt.

All are welcome to the Mass to share our commitment to faith and freedom and pray for those who are denied this basic human right.

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“Building a bridge of love” – How Aid to the Church is Need is making a difference across the globe

William McInnes

Every year, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) offers almost $200 million to fund more than 5,000 projects to support the Christian faith in countries facing poverty, persecution, war, or economic crisis.

Starting out as a charity to support Catholics fleeing Eastern Europe in the wake of World War II, ACN now supports Catholic communities in more than 140 countries across the globe.

regina-lynch“An important part of our work is listening to those communities, being in dialogue with the local Church, understanding their needs and how that fits into the work we do,” said Regina Lynch, Director of Projects for ACN International.

“By nature, we’re a pastoral organization but our first priority is helping those churches where Christians are persecuted or discriminated against. In some areas, we’re helping with emergency help and humanitarian types of aids in order to help the Christians survive or stay in their countries.”

ACN is an advocate for persecuted Christians across the globe, connecting donors to projects that will not only support the local Church, but improve the lives of many in the community.

“We like to say we’re a bridge of love between the donors and the beneficiaries,” said Ms Lynch.

“We encourage the donors to pray for the beneficiaries and the beneficiaries to pray for the donors. Very often a priest or sister will ask what they can give in return for the support, and we say, they can give us their prayers for people in donor countries.”

The war in Ukraine has become a key concern for the organisation, who are providing key aid following Russia’s invasion earlier this year.

“We’re very close to the two Churches in the Ukraine, being the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Latin Church,” said Ms Lynch.

ACN has been working in the country for decades since the fall of communism, assisting in the formation of thousands of priests in Ukraine.

“We’ve really tried to help them to emerge from the ashes of communism and accompany them. We’d got to the stage, after rebuilding seminaries and renovating churches, it was looking good,” said Ms Lynch.

“Today, we have the sad story of the war, and we have a lot of initiatives helping people, particularly in the east of Ukraine.”

ACN also maintains a strong presence in the Middle East, where countless Christians have been persecuted, particularly in areas such as Iraq and Syria. Economic crisis in Lebanon also threatens to expel a large proportion of the Maronite population there too.

Ms Lynch began working with ACN in 1980 and said over the past four decades, persecution of Christians had shifted from state actors, to radicalised religious groups.

“I see a big difference from when I first joined, when the persecution was done in the name of countries,” she said.

“You still have traces of that in places like China and Cuba, but now, it’s really a radicalism of Islam and nationalistic governments who are pushing towards totalitarianism. There are definitely greater attacks on religious freedom than there were 20 years ago, partly because of globalisation and the internet.”

ACN has been supporting projects in countries in Africa such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, where the local populations were facing increasing attacks on churches and Christians.

“In Nigeria, we have our classic ACN projects, training seminarians, building churches, equipping the priests and sister with means of transport, and providing Catechist material,” said Ms Lynch.

“But on top of that, we’re doing more emergency projects with internally displaced people, rebuilding churches, helping construct a centre for training widows of men killed in violence, and helping with trauma healing, including with young woman who were kidnapped by Boko Haram.”

Ms Lynch is travelling around Australia with Cardinal Joseph Coutts, the former Archbishop of Karachi in Pakistan, where many people still face severe persecution for living out their Christian faith.

The pair are helping to bring the plight of Christians across the globe to people in Australia, meeting with key benefactors and imploring the faithful to help in whatever way they can.

“First of all, it’s important to be aware and donations are important, but prayer is also really important because there’s some places where the only hope sometimes is prayer,” said Ms Lynch.

“It’s also about listening to these Christians who bear witness to the faith and are willing to go to any lengths. We should be asking ourselves questions about what we would do?”

On Wednesday, 23 November, the Diocese of Broken Bay will join churches across the globe in hosting a Red Wednesday Mass, dedicated to raising awareness of the great work done by Aid to the Church in Need in supporting persecuted Christians.

“All around the world, in the middle of November, we have Red Wednesday to draw attention to the plight of persecuted Christians throughout the world,” said Ms Lynch.

“It’s red because there are people shedding their blood, martyrs for their faith, and we want to be a voice to the voiceless and through this, draw attention to this.”

Ms Lynch said she hoped the witness and stories from people facing persecution for their faith would also inspire a re-evangelisation of Catholics in Australia.

“For me, its important to talk about those witnesses of faith and challenge all of us in these countries with freedom of religion to think about how far we’re willing to go to live and defend that faith,” she said.

“It’s a message for us, that thanks to faith, we can do things that humanly speaking, seem impossible.”

Most Reverend Bishop Anthony Randazzo DD JCL, Bishop of Broken Bay, will celebrate Mass for Red Wednesday at 7:30pm, 23 November 2022 at Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church, 94 Archer Street, Chatswood.

All are invited to Mass to remember and pray for persecuted Christians across the world, including our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

PRAYER FOR Ukraine

0 Lord our God, look down with mercy on the
Ukrainian people. Protect and save them from the
unjust aggressors who seek to subdue them. Grant
them steadfast trust in your mercy and protection.
0 Mother of God, who gave us your miraculous
icon at Zarvanytsia, intercede for the Ukrainian
people, who run to the shelter of your mercy in
their times of need.
0 Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Grant peace
and protection to the people of Ukraine. Give them
strength and courage to defend what is good, right,
and holy. Keep them safe from harm and provide
for all their needs, both temporal and spiritual.
Hear our prayers, 0 Lord, and deliver us from
distress, for You are merciful and compassionate
and love mankind. To You we give glory: the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and
forever and ever.
Amen.

PRAYER FOR Persecuted Christians

Lord Jesus Christ, as the Good
Shepherd, You call all people to Yourself,
but You also warned us that following
You would not be easy.
Today, many Christians suffer and
are persecuted for love of You.
In them, You continue Your passion
for the redemption of the world.
It is a grace to carry the cross with them.
Grant us love, courage
and a readiness to sacrifice
so that we can aid and console
our brothers and sisters in faith.
Fill us with Your merciful love for one another,
that we may also bless
our enemies and forgive them.
Thus, we want to joyfully testify to Your
presence in the world and find fullness of life
in You. Amen.