Today, the up surging number of Chinese Christian population (about 100million) is a new form of social movement in China. And so the Chinese Government deems it a rising threat to the absolute power in the country.
‘Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”’ (John 18:36)
The Chinese Government is systematically persecuting Christians, imprisoning the church leaders, demolishing crosses and church buildings.
In a recent incident, a Christian couple was bulldozed by the authorities who stood in the way of church property to protest church destruction.
The frequency of Christian Persecution has increased in China after the Communist party – the largest atheist organisation of the world, has come to power.
The government shares concern as Christians from nationalised Chinese church, headed by Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (i.e. Chinese government) are leaving the national church and becoming underground (Church operating without the government’s influence).
About 6 million have already left nationalised church and become underground.
‘We are suffering like Jesus on the cross, we fight for religious freedom and to follow Jesus – but we are not supported by Vatican and China’, cry the Chinese Christians.
And as the ties between the Vatican and China are being bridged, the faithful foresee the Catholic Church to lose its authenticity if the Chinese government is involved in church. The underground church has faced immense persecution and martyrdom since early on, they are not willing to give in to their freedom as Christians and subjugate to atheist heads to lead them.
‘And Jehovah helped them, and rescued them from the wicked, and saved them, Because they have taken refuge in him’. (Psalms 37:40)
May God rescue the faithful in China and pave the way towards religious freedom in China and in the world today.
Undoubtedly, our world is critically in the need of religious freedom!
Is it just China in need of religious freedom today or should we be in the same search of freeing ourselves of religious intolerance within ourselves too?
“All over the city, their men are roaming to catch hold of Christian ministers to accuse them falsely of forcible conversions,” said a senior Indian evangelist in his recent statement.
Lately, two Christian pastors and a church member visited a fellow Christian and carried out their normal practice of prayer, in the Indian state of Jabalpur. As they were to leave the house, few Hindu extremists stormed in the house, accusing the Christian Ministers of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity.
The argument soon turned into a violent attack as these Christian members were dragged out of the house and were brutally beaten. The extremists furiously injured them while interrogating their practices, and threatening them to stop meeting other fellow Christians even. An angry mob of 60 people also joined in punching and kicking the Christian ministers.
''For to this you were called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example. That ye should follow his steps''. (1 Peter 2:21)
The mob accompanied the extremists in driving the Christian preachers to the nearby Police station, where they were handed over to the authorities who harassed the already cowed Christians.
The underlying fact is, that there is a recent increase in the number of people embracing Christianity in India and therefore, the frequency of persecuting Christian evangelists has suddenly raised as well. The notorious Pro-Hindu extremist group, Dharam Sena, is largely carrying out violent attacks against Christian evangelists throughout India today.
"But they will treat you like this on account of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me". (John 15:21)
Today, let’s take inspiration from the steadfast efforts of ones who stand witness to God’s name despite violence. It is indeed an act of brevity on the part of evangelists, who commit themselves to spread the Gospel in today’s divided world.
''Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves''. (Matthew 10:16)
Let us understand our part in being ‘missionary disciple’ too.
Let us be wary of the worldly forces within us that stop us to stand united in Christian suffering and are hence acting as wolves in our lives this day.
The rising level of intolerance towards the religious minorities of the country, places Pakistan among the top ranked intolerant countries of the world. Pakistan has strict Blasphemy laws to protect Islam, where these laws are often seen to be abused by masses to fix personal scores. The lack of rule of law and government protection then makes it even harder for Christians to find justice in their own country.
A large number of this persecuted Christian population flees to other countries for protection, to escape rape, forced conversions, blasphemy allegations, and threats to be killed and burnt down. As many as 7500 Pakistanis were reported to be seeking asylum in Thailand in 2015, of which 4000 are Christian minority families from Pakistan.
Thousands of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers arrive with a few possessions and set up temporary homes in shabby rooms in the outskirts of Bangkok. However, with drastic increase in the number of asylum seekers, the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has failed to process asylum claims efficiently. Due to which the Thai government has now lost patience with UN’s failure to fulfill its duty.
In the police raids at these houses as many as hundred asylum seekers are arrested each month and put in overcrowded detention centers. Women and children are usually kept in the same cells, where children are mostly suffering from diarrhea and vomiting because of poor sanitation and dirty drinking water.
In other instances, women and children are separated and families are kept apart in as long their claims are not heard by the UN. Moreover, there have been incidences of few deaths in detention centers because of lack of medical facilities available to people.
However, still other unfortunate ones are thrown in Central Jails and face even worse living conditions. Men are required to shave off their heads, their hands and feet are put in shackles (weighing around 4 kg), and they wear orange prisoner clothes like other imprisoned rape and murder criminals of the jail.
Hundreds of men are crammed in small units and forced to sleep naked at night, where they take turns to sleep while standing and lying on floor.
“For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise His who are prisoners”. (Psalm 69: 33)
The Asian Human Rights Commission acknowledged the hardships of the vulnerable people and issued a statement of concern on the detention of refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand. It specified the violation of Convention of Right of Children who must not be detained for migration related purposes.
It further emphasized that these are refugees and asylum seekers; they need to be protected and not victimized.
However, not much has changed for these Christian persecuted families, as they are still denied medical facilities due to financial constraints; and are declined work and education till the UN hears their cases.
It's hard to say that how long these people will struggle to restore a safe and dignified life again!
“We are pressed down on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, yet not forsaken; smitten, yet not destroyed”. (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9)
Indeed God is not forsaking His people in their time of bitter trial. Let us pray that God showers His mercy on his people who suffer persecution after persecution.
Fleeing war zone to unfamiliar foreign lands certainly helps to escape immediate life threat, but then daily life struggles of survival kick in. As refugees, people struggle for food, health and a dignified life altogether. Iraqi refugees have been missing that life for almost two years now – June 2016 marked the anniversary of their displacement from Mosul and Nineveh Plains.
Two years ago, Christians were forced to leave their houses in Mosul city. In the following months, they were also forced to evict Nineveh Plains in Iraq. As many as 150,000 people have fled to Kurdistan region of Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch remarks, ‘the wound of forced emigration is still bleeding’.
Christians were not only expelled from their homes where they have comfortably lived for ages, but were also forced to leave their homeland absolutely empty handed. Those who managed to take any belongings with them, were stopped at the check posts where Islamic militants seized any valuables they had, ripping off women’s ears while snatching their earrings. The houses of fleeing families have been residences for the militant groups since then.
Thousands of the displaced families of Mosul and Nineveh Plains are mostly Christians, who have escaped the ethnic cleansing of Christians in their land. These people have been living in poverty, while fighting and dying of disease and hunger for two years now – predominantly what the militant groups desired.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me”. (Matthew 24: 9)
Today the question is, how will these people sustain in foreign lands as many charities withdraw their projects after two years of helping refugees?
Recently, a delegation of religious leaders from the US, led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has visited Iraq. On this occasion, the Bishop of Baghdad, spoke on behalf of Iraqi people and pleaded one thing, ‘Do not forget Iraq’.
Acknowledge the failure of the institutions and disrupted law and division in the country’s political sphere, Bishop of Baghdad emphasized that Iraqi Christians look for help from the West. He further added that Iraqis do not want anything; they just want their right to return home!
On the return of delegation to the US, Cardinal Dolan is keen to extend his efforts so that the cries of these people are heard in the West.
Let us intercede for an active stand of world politics to prevent and protect the target killing of Christians.
It is already our indifference and silence that has brought us in terms with ‘Christian Genocide’ in the world. Accepting our failures, we hence present these problems back to God who is to guide the efforts of our leaders (and us all) to rebuild a peaceful world.
“Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; I take refuge in You”. (Psalm 143:9)
For any more indifference on our part may soon familiarize us with the terms, ‘Christian Extinction’, if no further action is taken by us and our world leaders today.
Yet another group of Christian persecutors has aggressively come to play in Nigeria. Yet again the atrocities are brutal and even worse than what the notorious Boko Haram has been inflicting upon Nigerian Christians.
According to the Global Terrorism Index, this group of ‘Fulani’ Muslim Militants is the world’s fourth most deadly militant group, having killed more than 1200 people in the middle belt of Nigeria in 2014. Since the group is not yet recognized as a terrorist group, they openly carry arms and fearlessly conduct their acts of violence in the region.
The worrisome fact is that Christian persecution that was so far restricted to the northern region of Nigeria is spreading towards the middle belt of the country too.
Recently on 31st May, the Fulanis attacked the Christian community of Ninte village, early morning around 2 am, burning down the houses and firing all night long. People fled for life to the nearby communities for shelter and help. Others spent the night hiding in the bushes and struggling for their survival through the night. According to reports, two people died in the attack and many others have been inquired, including women and children.
‘Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory’. (1 Peter 4: 12-13)
Though, the church in the neighbourhood is helping the displaced Christian community of Ninte village. The Catholic Bishop of Kafancaon, Bishop Joseph Bagobiri, has called for international support to help the rehabilitation of these people.
However, as many as 1.3 million Christians have also fled the region of Kafanchan, in the fear of affliction from the fierce Fulanis.
As we share in the sufferings and fears of the faithful in Nigeria today, we fundamentally join in the international call for prayers for the troubled Christian community of Ninte village.
‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer’. (Romans 12:12)
Being faithful in prayer, we pray for our persecutors (among others especially the Fulanis today) that God grants them light to see the truth, and the grace of mercy and forgiveness, for they know not what they do.
‘To stand with the suffering at the foot of today’s crosses is not necessarily to do anything; rather it is to make present the compassionate presence of Christ’.
Joining these prayers, we indeed set-up Christ's presence in our present today!
’I am constantly worried about my family back in Kurdish (Iraq)’; an Iraqi Christian shared her story.
Iraq is a Muslim majority country with 2 million of Christian population in 2003. However, with the current war in Iraq, this number has reduced to just 180,000 today. Agonized with the memories of her past life and anxious about the future of Iraq, Rachael struggled to find words to describe the pain she carries.
At the age of 20, Rachael had a painful experience during her university when she was forced to wear hijab in the month of Ramadan. It was even humiliating to see the university staff and fellow Muslim friends to mock us Christians who followed the mandatory practice that time.
‘I did so for my dad, who was always concerned about our safety’.
‘My dad was like a pillar for the family’, she spoke warmly. In 2005, it was a hard time for Rachael who lost her dad that year. After him things changed not just in the family but also around them; Rachael witnessed the beginning of Christian persecution in Mosul city since 2005. Things got worse with the abductions and killing of Christian men in Iraq. Her brother was followed few times on his way to work and back. ‘We just couldn’t imagine losing him too – we decided to leave Mosul!’
Mosul had the highest proportion of Christians in Iraq at then. With the on-going war, as many as 100,000 Christians have fled the city overnight. The ISIS forces took over Mosul, the second largest city of Iraq, in 2014. Including Rachael’s family, many Christians then fled to the north Kurdish region.
‘Our lives are not the same, it was maybe better life in Kurdish region but I still feel empty’.
Dolefully Rachael continued, ‘Mosul city had my dad’s memories, my friends, my childhood; all snatched from me’.
Many people have fled empty-handed; fleeing for their lives. At least half of the million Christians of Iraq have left to neighbouring countries, mainly to Syria and Jordan while others fled to relatively safe areas within Iraq.
The Christians of Iraq are considered to be one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. And Aid to the Church in Need shares concern that in the next five years Christians might become extinct in Iraq altogether.
Today Rachael is constantly worried about her family back home; she only treasures her family and plans her reunion with them after her studies.
‘I can expect anything from the government and the people of Iraq, they have all betrayed us. We can’t trust them’.
‘They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God’. (John 16:2)
Being a Christian she holds on to prayer as the only hope, ‘we are not like them, we must pray for the ISIS’. Let’s join these prayers for those who persecute us. Let's be committed in prayers for Christ’s presence in Iraq in years to come.
''There is pain all over, every day people are weakening within themselves', a doctor describes Syrian refugee campus.
People are losing their family members every day, they see them die in front of their eyes. Children cry over their siblings' dead bodies, mothers are dying leaving their 2-3year old behind. There is trauma and depression taking over people's lives. Among others a young man recently tried to suffocate himself at seeing his sister die in Aleppo air strikes.
'I have no words to describe the suffering I see on daily basis', says Fr. Ibrahim Alsabagh, priest from Aleppo, northern Syria. Fr. Ibrahim has seen rockets falling on churches, mosques, schools and now hospitals and residential area. In April 2016, al-Quds hospital, supported by both Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross was attacked, disrupting the presence of few doctors for a population of thousands of people.
The city is bleeding, yet no service is available to people who need it the most!
Both the rebel and governmental Assad-regime realise the commercial and historic importance of Aleppo city and hence are unlikely to surrender. Although the battle for the city had begun since 2012, the fight had never been this intense before according to Fr. Ibrahim.
Today, the civilians are targeted in the bomb stricken Aleppo city. These are the people who could not afford to leave the city before and these poorest ones are now caught up in starvation in their houses. The only remaining route to the eastern Syria is bombarded and attacked, cutting off the city and making it harder for people to leave anyway. They want us to die!
'Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me'. (Matt 24:9)
Has God also abandoned us today? He is still at work in the face of charities and other people who reaching out to those in dire need. Fr. Ibrahim has been working in Aleppo for two years now. With the help of charities, they are trying to reach out to ones confined in their houses and providing them food and health facilities.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Let us also take Christian persecution as our chance to be Christ in the world. Standing together for this cause and showing our solidarity and heartfelt care is yet another way of doing what Christ would have done today.
Maybe let's not be indifferent to Christian Persecution today?
Yet another day in the city of Aden, Yemen; the nuns and the priest start the day with morning prayer in chapel. Following the prayer, Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil starts his little jobs at the chapel and the nuns from the Missionaries of Charity in the nursing centre get on with their tasks. Others at the care house greet the bright day by walking in the garden outside the convent – 4th March 2016, a normal day in Aden.
Who thought it wouldn't be the same again?
The nursing house was attacked that morning. There were gunmen dressed as guards who entered the premises, shooting the security guard at the gate and others in the compound. At the sight of militant attack some ran towards the building shouting and warning the nuns of the attack. They were shot dead.
Hearing the gun fires and cries outside, the five nuns ran in all directions. Sr. Sally fled to inform Fr. Tom and warn him to stay inside. Before she could reach the priest, she saw the militants to have entered the chapel; they grabbed Fr. Tom and walked him blindfolded to their cars.
Sr. Sally could hear the sounds of the gunshots at the nuns behind her and abduction of Fr. Tom in front of her eyes. In absolute state of trauma and terror, she went in the refrigerator room and stood behind the door. The attackers started looking for this fifth nun at the convent, they came in the store room, but miraculously could not see Sr. Sally who did little to hide herself.
Eventually they went away, killing 16 people in total, including four nuns at the convent and abducting the priest, Fr. Tom. Sr. Sally witnessed the brutal killing of her fellow nuns, who were tied up and shot in head; and their heads were then smashed to the ground.
‘Let’s be prepared for martyrdom’, Sr Sally remembered Fr. Tom’s words recently.
Being the only Christian presence in the city of Aden, Fr. Tom and others were aware of the dangers in the region, they could see it coming sooner or later on them.
Their steadfastness in the faith and preparation for their martyrdom for Christ’s sake are symbols of inspiration to us today. In spite of the terror and threat of life God’s faithful are committed to be symbols of Christianity in the world.
"Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10)
They are living scripture today in being faithful to His name till death; the question is what role are we playing in the tormented world today?
God might not be asking martyrdom from us today, but maybe, at least, He desires our care and union with fellow Christians and other minorities in their afflicts.
But we cannot stand united with these people if we refuse to read or listen about the sufferings around us. It is easy to shut our eyes to this brutal reality of Christian persecution. At times our minds refuse to reconcile with reality maybe because we are against it, we don’t like or it makes us feel stressed. Fair enough!
But are we not protecting ourselves today from the mildest influence of extreme events of the oppressed world which we are safe from? If Christians in conflict areas can bear the agony and die for Christ’s sake, can we not at least spare a moment's pain and stand united with them in Christ? Is terror not dividing us from being united in Christ's name today?
Let us live our part of Christian faith, let terror not divide us today.
It is only after our reconciliation with reality that we can improve this reality and change its direction.
Let us stand in solidarity with persecuted minorities and intercede for Fr. Tom who is still missing for three months now.
In my recent conversations with students for joining a prayer group for persecuted Christians, I see their willingness for even bigger and 'practical' steps such as protesting, demonstrating etc. Praying is not always a very appealing idea.
Can prayer really help in dealing with sad realities of our world today?
Prayer for deliverance is definitely the first, if not the only step, to deal with difficulties. Many places in scripture we see that Christ had been praying, including the time in Gethsemane before his crucifixion. But does it really help today?
Well, the more difficult the journey, the more powerful our prayers can become. It is our way of surrendering in our helplessness, and asking God to show His glory in our weakness, who then guides us and 'practically' leads us out of it. It is a unique way through which God glorifies His name in His people, by making a way in the most terrifying situations.
Among others, a recent evidence can be found in the story of Fr. Jacques who miraculously fled ISIS' captivity.
Fr. Jacques Mourad was serving as a prior of the Syriac Catholic Mar Elian monastery, when he was kidnapped by terrorists on 21st May 2015. Even in the most petrified conditions, Fr. Jacques still resorted to prayer in hope of deliverance. He had spent a prayerful time in hope, while he was held captive by ISIS for five months in Syria. He later described his captivity as a 'spiritual retreat' for him. According to him, it was an important and delightful time for his spiritual development and for making scripture a part of his 'practical' life.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Fr. Jacques fled ISIS in October 2015 by disguising himself and fleeing with the help of a Muslim man. It was indeed God's answer to the prayers of many around the world that he was released and is serving His people in Syria.
However, it is equally important to pray for alleviation from that pain. During Fr. Jacques' captivity, he resisted demands to convert to Islam even when a knife was held against his neck or when he was beaten with a plastic hose. The priest says that it was only through prayer for his captors that hatred never rooted in him.
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Lastly, while writing this blog today, I also remember a prayer time in my college back in Pakistan in 2007. It was Ramadan season where attending Friday sermon was mandatory, irrespective of your faith. As a solitary Christian, I walked into that room full of Muslim staff and students. The sermon began with the importance of fasting, followed by few readings in Arabic – a language which I couldn't understand. However, there was a closing prayer in Urdu, the response to which was ‘Amen’. The speaker started prayers for staff, students and our country etc. What I was shocked to hear was a prayer for us, the Christians and the West.
It said:'May Allah ruin all the Christians of the world', to which everyone responded 'Amen'
'May Allah devastate the West', again the response was 'Amen'.
I looked at my friends and the gathering in shock, trying to believe what my ears just heard!
Referring back to Fr. Jacques' words, it is indeed through prayer that hatred will not root in us.
It is our time to live up our Christian faith 'practically' in prayer; praying for our faithful being persecuted and for the ones persecuting them. And God will lead us, the young and the prayerful, into practical ways of making a difference within our spans.
So let's be practical! Let's pray together!
Being a part of Catholic religious minority in Pakistan, I could face serious consequences if I spoke out against the status quo. Because you just can't say anything! Those who read this blog may not be aware, but in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the current blasphemy laws state that an individual is liable to prosecution on the most whimsical of evidence should the voice of their opinion be interpreted as offensive or insulting to any aspect of the Islamic faith. Indeed, in 2011 one Pakistani politician who spoke up for the rights of religious minorities was assassinated. In fact, he was martyred.
Why are we so pressed down to stay quiet in that country?
There have been many incidences of oppression of Christians, which kept me thinking why is it so? When I lived in Pakistan, from around the age of 16, I started to realize how defenceless we are as Christians. A combination of my personal experiences in Pakistan and watching how other Christians are treated at the hands of Muslim majority, kept me pondering, ‘whom should we turn to, what can we do?’
I could not do anything then as I lived in constant fear in Pakistan. Here, I don’t live in fear; not anymore!
Part of my intention in compiling this blog is to be the voice of those who have not yet found their voice. I want to stand up for those who have not yet been healed from the Pakistani Government’s abuse. Thus I speak out.
Thus let it begin with me!
As a Catholic, I believe that it is part of God’s plan that I have recently been assigned as the Holy Name Church parish representative for Aid to the Church in Need. I had the choice to reject this post, but accepted it. Along with other responsibilities that come with this role, I am looking forward to writing this blog and sharing my personal experiences of living as religious minority in Pakistan.
But where should I start? I am just overwhelmed with this freedom of finally being able to fearlessly speak out.
Back in 2007, I had my first few experiences of ill-treatment, when I joined a top-ranking public college for women in Khyber Pakhunkhwa, KPK. I was the only Christian girl attending the college at that time. The first week started with friendly introductory conversations, and the friendly chats continued for a number of weeks. However, as time passed, my peers noticed that I always painted my nails, implying I could not pray Namaz, where unpainted nails is one of the prerequisites of cleanliness to be qualified to pray Namaz. After noticing my painted nails, my Muslim peers raised suspicion as to how I could pray Namaz (being unclean because of my nail paint) and noticed that I did not participate in praying Namaz with them. When I confessed my Christian faith to them, their response was shock. After all, who would have thought that a Christian girl would be admitted to a renowned academic institute? Many of these people had never before encountered a Christian in their lives. They used to bring other friends to see what a Christian girl looked like.
What I never expected was that I would be alienated from then onwards, by those who discovered my Christian faith. The conversations ended, no one shared their lecture notes with me, and I ate alone mostly as no one would like to sit with me. That day, I experienced in a very personal way the hatred that many Pakistani Muslims nurture for Christianity and those who profess it. The pain is as strong today as it was back then: to be surrounded by hostile and hateful eyes every day.
In scripture, Christ teaches that those who are rejected and maligned on account of confessing him ought to rejoice and be exceedingly glad. They are ‘Blessed’(Matt. 5:10-12). I had hoped that I would be glorifying God by being a good witness to the (Catholic) Christian faith for these people who had never met a Christian before. Perhaps I was.
We, as Christians, are never respected as human beings in Pakistan. I used to wonder how it would feel if I was just treated as a human – nothing more or nothing less!
At the time, I accepted the suffering most of my peers caused me, though few stood by me. Did not Christ Himself have to suffer contempt and hostility at the hands of those who wielded power and dominated the vulnerable in His society? Like Him, the religious minorities in Pakistan are vulnerable and trampled upon by society, and ultimately, by the Government. We have bowed our heads to it.
To this day, however, I accept His will by sharing my experience with you all. I do not know where this sharing of my story will take me. I am simply taking His lead every day. For the moment it seems He wants me to make the world aware of the real struggles, discrimination, oppression and disgrace which Christians have to live with. I will speak on behalf of people who have no option but to remain silent.
I too, did not say a word when I was in Pakistan. After all, my mother strictly instructed me and my siblings, “Now that you all are going out in Muslim world, there will be occasions you will be questioned for your faith; mocked and hurt by what they have to offer. But you don’t have to reply. Do not say a word, just bow down your head and walk away silently.”
Mum, I listened to you that day, but now I will speak up! I will be a voice for you, for Christian women, and for the persecuted Christian community of Pakistan. Mum, I will do what you, and other Christians can still not do in Pakistan!
I will be your voice, my brethren.
My fellow readers and I stand together with the Christians in Pakistan and all those persecuted in different parts of the world.
I am the Holy Name representative for Aid to the Church in Need.