Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Support for Persecuted Christians

I wish I had some church bells! A great initiative to support those Christians who are suffering persecution by ringing church bells for the call to prayer this Saturday - the feast of the Assumption - or, I suppose, on Sunday, if you happen to live in a country like England where the feast day has been transferred.  Even if you haven't got any bells, gathering to pray at 12 noon would be an act of charity.  I am celebrating a Traditional Form Mass of the Assumption at 12 noon on Saturday, so we will be joining in as best we can - even without the bells.
The initiative seems to have come from the Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon,  Dominique Rey - a great leader in the Church today. I met him first through the Bravade at San Tropez but his diocese is thriving with new priests.

You can read s fuller report at Aleteia but here are some details:
Fréjus-Toulon, Gap and Embrun, Bayonne, Avignon, Ajaccio, and now Digne ... So far, six bishops have decided that the bells will ring in all the churches of their diocese on Saturday, August 15, 2015. The faithful are called to gather in front of their churches at noon to show their brotherly support of the Eastern Christians who are prey to the wickedest persecutions because of their faith.

This initiative comes exactly a year after the dramatic events that Aleteia was among the first to relay, as early as August 7, 2014 : the fall of Mosul, then Qaraqosh and all the plain of Nineveh. The mass exodus of Christians on the roads and the massacre of Yezidis at mount Sinjar finally made the international public opinion react. But a year later, can we really say that there has been a true reaction to Daesh and the Syrian drama?

Launched by Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, this initiative has already been taken up by several other bishops, 
and by the Catholic Church in France. But this is just the beginning, hopefully: can we not dream of hearing all the bells of France ringing in honor of our persecuted brothers? Or, who knows, the bells of all the churches around the world?

Faced with the persecutions and massacres suffered by the Christians of the East, especially in Syria and Iraq, these dioceses want to express in this way their solidarity and pray for them. "This is a gesture of prayer, solidarity, peace and faith,” says Archbishop Jean-Pierre Cattenoz, archbishop of Avignon. “We believe it can have a real impact." Sometimes one gesture can change everything...

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