Parishes and households across the Archdiocese are invited to stand in solidarity on 24 November and to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering violence, persecution and death simply for professing their religious beliefs.

Red Wednesday is a global initiative of Aid to the Church in Need to highlight the plight of those who are persecuted for their religious beliefs. Even during a pandemic, oppression of religious minorities continues. In particular, girls and women from Christian and other faith minority backgrounds suffer abduction, forced marriage, forced conversion and sexual violence.

Did you know 62 countries out of a total of 196 face very severe violations of religious freedom? Two thirds of the world’s population live in these countries. To find out more, read the Aid to the Church in Need’s Religious Freedom in the World Report 2021.

In our own diverse Archdiocese, our history has been shaped by migrants and refugees who have suffered religious persecution and have found in our community a place of hope, welcome and freedom to live lives that proclaim Jesus.

St Patrick’s Cathedral will join cathedrals, churches and prominent buildings around Australia and the world by:

  • floodlighting the exterior of the cathedral in red on the night of 24 November
  • holding a prayer vigil at 7.30pm on 24 November. Please note: Adhering to government regulations, all people wishing to attend will need to provide either an electronic copy or a hard copy of your double vaccination certificate and sign in with the QR Code provided. The prayer vigil will also be livestreamed via the Archdiocesan YouTube channel.

As Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has said: ‘Many of our brothers and sisters continue to suffer deeply through injustice and persecution in the name of Christ.

As they choose to remain close to Him, so we choose to remain close to them—in solidarity for the courageous witness they model.’
St Patrick's Cathedral (Red Wednesday 2019) as seen from ACU Melbourne

Five ways for parishes, families and individuals to mark Red Wednesday

1. Parishes are invited to offer their Masses on 24 November for the intention of persecuted Christians. Download this Mass outline for a ‘Mass for Persecuted Christians’, which includes a suggested prayer of the faithful.

2. #Go2Mass and pray for persecuted Christians. This Aid to the Church in Need initiative invites us to pledge to go to an additional Mass sometime in November, to pray for the needs of a person or community who cannot attend Mass because of religious persecution. You can download a prayer for persecuted Christians here.

3. Pray this Novena in the nine days before Red Wednesday.

4. Families can encourage children to make a postcard to send to a family overseas recovering from religious persecution. Download a template pack here.

5. Make a Mass offering or donate to those working at the grassroots to materially and spiritually support persecuted Christians.