The Church in Philippines, as a sign of solidarity with the millions of persecuted Christians all over the world, celebrated late afternoon Masses on Wednesday as part of the #RedWednesdayPH campaign.
The Apostolic Nuncio-Designate to the Philippines Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia presided at the Mass in the Manila Cathedral at 5:30 p.m. The archbishop thanked God for the witness of all the martyrs, starting from the beginning of the Church, like Saint Cecilia, whose feast it was on Nov 22, up to now. “We are supported by their strength”, he said.
Bishop Edwin de la Peña who preached during mass said, “We never thought that this persecution of Christians that started in the Middle East, with the upsurge of violent terrorism and extremism would come to the Philippines. We in the Prelature of Marawi did not expect that the war would turn out like this,” he added.
Recently Marawi Cathedral was burned and desecrated by Maute Group terrorists during the five month war in the City.
The Red Wednesday Campaign was an initiative of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), to bring to mind the martyrdom of Christians as they battle religious persecutions in many parts of the world.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), is a Catholic charity organization under the Pope that was established to support Christian communities undergoing persecution, oppression, and poverty.
A total of 45 cathedrals, 24 shrines, and five basilicas nationwide had committed to participate in this year’s Red Wednesday.
Among the notable churches that participated in Red Wednesday apart from the Manila Cathedral were the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo, The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag in Pangasinan and the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace or more commonly known as the EDSA Shrine.
Catholic universities, such as the Ateneo de Manila University, St. Paul University (Manila and Quezon City) and the University of Sto. Tomas also joined the symbolic event. The selected churches and universities in the country lit their façades in red and the faithful too were encouraged to wear red.
Red Wednesday was successfully launched by CAN United Kingdom last year. The Philippines joined Christians in the United Kingdom this year together with those in Malta, Italy, and Brazil on the same date.