Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila called on the faithful to support the programs of the Aid to the Church in Need, a papal charity that helps persecuted Christians.
The prelate made the call on the eve of the observance of “Red Wednesday,” an ACN initiative to pray for, and draw attention to, Christians who suffer and are persecuted for their faith.
“I ask that the facade of churches and institutions be lighted with red and support the projects of ACN by the second collection in all Masses,” said Cardinal Advincula in an appeal over Radio Veritas 846 on Tuesday, November 22.
“Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted. Let us spread the word about their difficulties and painful experiences,” he said.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier urged dioceses, the religious, and the faithful to take part in the “Red Wednesday” observance.
“Please do not forget to celebrate Red Wednesday in your parishes,” read a statement from Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, CBCP president.
“As members of the One Body of Christ, let us unite ourselves spiritually with all fellow Christians around the world who are in very difficult situations, especially those among them who are undergoing persecution,” said Bishop David.
In a statement, the prelate said the Filipino people should thank the Lord “that we happen to be living in a country where religious freedom is still guaranteed by our Constitution and still generally respected.”
“This blessing should be enough reason for us to express solidarity with fellow Christians in other parts of the world who may not be enjoying the same freedom, especially those living in countries where they have to deal all the time with discrimination and acts of violence perpetrated by religious extremists,” he said.
“I also encourage you to please contribute generously to the special collection for Red Wednesday, all of which will be remitted to the account of the ACN, Aid to the Church in Need, which is the official Pontifical Foundation of the Catholic Church for this purpose,” said Bishop David.
“Red Wednesday” was first organized in the United Kingdom in 2016. The Philippines started joining the campaign in 2017.
In January 2020, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines declared “Red Wednesday” as an official church activity in the country.