Archbishop Eamon Martin will lead a ‘Liturgy of Witness’ tomorrow, Red Wednesday, in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, as part of a special ‘Week of Witness’. The ‘Week of Witness’ is an invitation to Christians across the island of Ireland to stand in solidarity with, and bear witness to, the heroic example of our persecuted brothers and sisters in faith across the world. During the celebration, two young people will speak with Archbishop Eamon on how they witness faith in their every day lives.
Archbishop Eamon said, “Many churches and public buildings in Ireland and Britain are being lit up in red this week, and people are encouraged to wear a red item of clothing to help shine a light on the reality of Christian persecution across the world, and to highlight the injustices perpetrated against other minority and faith groups. I thank God for the freedom of worship and religion that we enjoy on this island, a freedom that we did not always enjoy and which is denied so many people in our world today. I recognise that to be like Christ in an increasingly secularised world means being different, counter-cultural, and not easily swayed by the prevailing attitudes and opinions around us.
“On this #RedWednesday I invite you to pray for the gift of courage, the grace of witness and loyalty to Christ for Christians all over the world and especially for those who continue to be challenged, attacked, displaced or even murdered for what they believe in.”
Tonight, on the eve of the Red Wednesday Vigil, a special lecture will be given by Jean Harrington in The Magnet Pastoral Centre, Dundalk at 7.30pm on ‘Martyrdom in the 21st century’. Jean is the author of Murder in the Missions – a true story which was published earlier this year and focuses on the story of two Columban Missionaries in the Philippines, Father Des Hartford and Father Rufus Halley.
After the ‘Liturgy of Witness’ on Red Wednesday, Archbishop Eamon will launch a new book in The Synod Hall of the Cathedral titled Not might nor fear – Prayers and Reflections on the new Statue of St Oliver Plunkett edited by Canon Benedict Fee.
On Thursday Archbishop Eamon will celebrate 10am Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and during the Mass, special prayers will be offered for all who give witness to their faith in the world today. After Mass, the Archbishop will join with all the young people who are to be confirmed in the Cathedral Parish this year, in leading a ‘Walk of Witness’ within the Cathedral. As part of the walk, prayers will be offered that all of us may respond to the call to be more faithful in giving witness to the faith in our homes and in our communities.
Notes to Editors:
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh, Apostolic Administrator of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. On Sunday 24 November, Bishop Michael Router launched the ‘Week of Witness’ at Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
- The Week of Witness is organised and promoted by the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, and is held every year from 25 November to 1 December. This special week involves important talks and exhibitions throughout the island of Ireland on the theme of Christian persecution. During the ‘Week of Witness’, ACN Ireland will hold the Red Wednesday Prayer Vigil with the prayerful assistance of dioceses and parishes throughout the country. Red Wednesday is an opportunity for the faithful to gather as a community to pray not just for persecuted Christians – but also for the persecutors of Christians.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.