Other Philippine Christian churches to mark 'Red Wednesday'

Filipino Christians also experience persecution, especially in the south of the country
Other Philippine Christian churches to mark 'Red Wednesday'

Father Teresito Soganub, who was abducted by Islamic State-inspired fighters in Marawi in 2017, leads Catholics in paying tribute to Christian martyrs in Manila's observance of Red Wednesday in 2018. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

Several Christian denominations in the Philippines have pledged their support for the Catholic observance of "Red Wednesday" next week.

It is the first time that non-Catholics have agreed to join the activity spearheaded by the group Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), said Jonathan Luciano, the group’s Philippine director.

Red Wednesday is a campaign initiated by ACN, a global Catholic group under the pope that supports persecuted Christian communities.

"It's not only Catholics being martyred. There are other Christians martyred and they are evangelicals, Orthodox and Protestants," said Luciano during a media briefing in Manila on Nov. 20.

"We will pray ecumenically and ask the Lord to help us and give us strength in the face of persecution."

Red Wednesday on Nov. 27 will also signal the start of the Year of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue in the Philippines.

Among those who have declared their intention to attend the event are leaders and members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

Luciano said Christianity remains the most persecuted religion in the world, with about 300 million Christians persecuted in 2018.

"They don't have the freedom to practice their faith," he said, adding that Filipinos are “fortunate because we are a majority Christian nation."

"We are free to practice our faith without fear of being killed or threatened," said Luciano. "That's why Red Wednesday is a call for us to be in solidarity with Christians not as fortunate as us." 

Some Filipino Christians, however, also experience persecution, especially in the southern part of the Philippines. In some areas, Christians are not allowed to hold religious processions or early-morning Christmas Masses.

"Sadly not all Filipinos are aware of this," said Luciano. "Let Red Wednesday be the start for Filipinos to lend their voices to the global call to uphold religious freedom and advocate for interfaith harmony." 

More than 2,000 parishes across the Philippines intend to take part in this year's observance to show solidarity in the campaign against religious persecution.

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