The international Red Week campaign initiated by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to call attention to religious freedom and persecuted Christians will take place this year between 16 and 23 November.
People all over the world will be reminded of the plight of persecuted Christians and the lack of religious freedom in many countries during the month of November, with buildings and landmarks in several different countries illuminated in red, and a series of special initiatives, prayer actions and witnesses.
The Red Week will start with the official launch of the “Persecuted and Forgotten? – A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2020–22” in the Houses of Parliament, in London on 16th November. The report is a study that supplements the Religious Freedom Report. Prepared by ACN national office in the UK, it specifically addresses the worldwide situation of persecuted Christians every two years. The report will be presented in other countries during the following weeks.
On the same day, Wednesday 16 November, a Mass will be celebrated in the St. Karl Church in Vienna. So far, at least 94 churches in Austria have confirmed their participation, either lighting in read or by holding prayer events. In South America, ACN Colombia has invited sister Gloria Narvaez, a nun who was held by Islamist terrorists for five years, to share her experience in Bogota and Medellin,
Although the events and actions are distributed throughout the month, many of the prayer nights and testimonies around the world will be held on 23 November, #RedWednesday. Ten cathedrals will be illuminated in Australia, and the Cathedral in Canberra will hold a Night of Witness prayer event. The United Kingdom has prepared a wide variety of events both in England and in Scotland, including the “Taste of Home” initiative, asking people to gather with friends and families and share a traditional meal from countries where Christians are persecuted, during which they can exchange stories about the suffering church, pray and raise money to support refugees.
In France, bells will ring out from 100 churches all over the country and a round-table discussion will take place in Les Bernardins, Paris, followed by an evening prayer vigil at Montmartre on 23 November, featuring a testimony by Archbishop Ndagoso from Kaduna, Nigeria.
ACN Germany has invited guests from Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan to give witnesses in the Cathedrals of Regensburg, Mainz and Augsburg, among others. In total 60 German parishes have confirmed their participation in Red Week.
Red Week traces its roots to Brazil in 2015, when the local ACN office had the Christ the Redeemer monument lit in red to mark the persecution of Christians in Iraq. In April 2016, inspired by the same idea, ACN Italy illuminated the Fontana di Trevi. ACN UK took the idea further and created #RedWednesday to commemorate all persecuted Christians on a specific Wednesday in November, and this was later expanded to a whole week in many countries. In the UK, in particular, the initiative has been embraced not only by different Christian confessions, but also by other religions, in a show of solidarity.
This year ACN is recommending that churches keep their red illumination on only for short amounts of time, or substitute it for ringing of bells, in view of the applicable energy saving regulations.
ACN supports more than 5,000 projects in around 140 countries each year, helping Christians live out their Faith wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.
The following is a list of events already confirmed. Others are still being prepared. You can find more information on national office websites, or using the hashtag #RedWeek on social media:
Ten cathedrals will be lit in red, and will hold masses or prayer services on Wednesday, 23 November. The Cathedral in Canberra will hold a Night of the Witness prayer event. More info: www.aidtochurch.org/redwednesday
All parishes in Austria have been invited to light up their churches on Wednesday 16 November, and a Mass will be celebrated in St. Karlskirche, Vienna. So far, at least 94 churches have confirmed they will be participating. More info: https://www.kircheinnot.at/rw/
An information and prayer session will be held at the headquarters of the local ACN on Wednesday, 23 November
Churches will be lit in red between 14 and 18 November, and sister Gloria Narvaez, who was kidnapped by jihadists in Mali and held for almost five years, will be giving conferences in Bogotá and in Medellín.
A round table discussion will be held at “Les Bernardins” on Tuesday, 22 November, and on Wednesday 23 an evening prayer vigil will be held at Montmartre, while 100 churches will ring their bells all over France. https://aed-france.org/evenement/mercredirouge/
Six events will be held with several German bishops, and parishes are being invited to associate themselves to the occasion, which will carry on during the second half of November, with 60 having confirmed already. See more information: www.redwednesday.de
In The Netherlands at east one hundred churches will be lit red on Wednesday 23 November. Many of them host evening prayers or celebrate Holy Mass for the intention of those persecuted and forgotten for their faith. Several churches will inform about the report Persecuted and Forgotten? 2022 to raise awareness. www.redwednesday.nl