Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is preparing to hold its annual #RedWeek, a week-long worldwide campaign designed to raise awareness of the persecution of Christians in many areas of the world. #RedWeek runs from November 19-26 and will see churches and famous monuments around the world lit with red lights in order to draw attention to Christaian suffering.
#RedWeek is an initiative that has grown a lot since 2015, when ACN first arranged for Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue to be lit in red to symbolize the Christian persecution in Iraq. Inspired by their South American counterparts, ACN’s Italian office soon after arranged for Rome’s Trevi Fountain to be lit in red.
From there the organization’s UK office began an initiative for a #RedWednesday to be held on the fourth Wednesday of November, and now the week-long campaign has spread around the world. According to ACN, #RedWeek 2023 will draw participation from over 10,000 people in over a dozen countries.
Nearly 20 cathedrals in Australia will shine red lights on their facades throughout the week, including Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Patrick’s will also hold their second annual Night of the Witnesses on November 22nd, at which Joseph Absi, the Patriarch of the Melkite Catholic Church, will speak on the situations Christians face in Syria and the Middle East in general.
In Austria, more than 100 parishes throughout the country have pledged to light their churches red, and they will be joined by the Austrian Parliament building. A flash mob is also planned in the Austrian capital, Vienna, which is to be followed by an address by the Speaker of the Austrian Parliament. Meanwhile, their neighbor Slovenia has planned for many of their churches to be lit red and they will be joined by the Nitra and Bratislava castles.
In Germany, some 100 churches have planned to shine red lights throughout the week, including the cathedrals of Passau, Regensburg, Freiburg, Dresden, and Paderborn. The German events will include testimonies from Bishop Ashkarian from Aleppo, Syria, and Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, Pakistan, two nations in which Christians often struggle.
The Netherlands, which has been a part of #RedWeek for years, will draw participation from more than 150 Catholic and Protestant churches. These will hold Masses, prayer services, and ecumenical meetings, while extending church hours so that the faithful may pray and light candles for suffering Christians.
The UK is also getting involved, holding #RedWednesday events on November 22. Focusing on Christian persecution in Africa, #RedWednesday will introduce two campaigns: one to the pray 100,000 decades of the Holy Rosary for Africa, and the other a challenge to match £100,000 to benefit victims of religious persecution. The UK’s participation will include an address from a Nigerian couple who survived the 2022 Pentecost attack in Owo.
The Canadian #RedWeek will include events in various areas, including the Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal, which stands as the largest shrine to St. Joseph in the world. In Quebec, the Cathedral of Mary, Queen of the World will be lit in red, joined by St. Michael’s Cathedral. Both cathedrals will hold vigils led by their respective bishops.
Learn more about #RedWeek at Aid to the Church in Need’s official website. Interested parties can also make donations to ACN in order to support its efforts to raise awareness of Christian persecution around the world.