Red Wednesday is an initiative of the Catholic charity organization Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). It is led in the Philippines by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
The campaign aimed to aware people that Christianity has become the most persecuted religion in the world today. Over 90,000 Christians were murdered in 2016, according to a study from the Center for New Religions. The ACN cited a study that concluded that half a billion Christians worldwide are still unable to freely express their faith.
Manila Cathedral, the mother church of the Philippines, was bathed in red light on Wednesday evening on November 22. Filipinos marked this day to commemorate martyred Christians around the world. On Wednesday at 5:30 in the evening, parishes, respective buildings or local monuments were illuminated in red, as endorsed by the Catholic Bishop of Cathedral of Philippines. November 22 is the day of feast of the third century martyr Saint Cecilia.
In Philippines, Dela Peña’s Catholic community is resided in Marawi City. This city is the site of war against terrorists Islamic State (ISIS), since last five months. During the war in Marawi City, Dela Peña’s cathedral was burned by the terrorists. While the Philippines is a Christian country still they suffer persecution.
The priests wear red in Masses. Red is the color of martyrdom. Christians in the United Kingdom, Malta, Italy, and Brazil observed Red Wednesday. Up to 45 cathedrals, 24 shrines, and 5 basilicas joined the activities for Red Wednesday in the Philippines. On this occasion, Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña said, “We never thought that this persecution of Christians that started in the Middle East, with the upsurge extremism of radical Islam, would come to the Philippines.”
National Director Jonathan Luciano presenting ACN Philippines appreciated the ACN Philippines efforts for persecuted Christians in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, and North Korea.