WASHINGTON – Bishop Pates, the chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked the U.S. bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17.
Bishop Pates recounted the struggles of Christians and others in Iraq who have faced the destruction, burning and looting of churches, homes and businesses and, under threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to join their extremist brand of Islam, have fled for their lives. Accordingly, he urged Catholics to let their elected representatives know of their concern that humanitarian assistance reach Christian and other religious minorities who are suffering in Iraq, Syria and other countries. Thousands of Christians are being executed, beheaded, kidnapped, and raped by groups promoting Islam.
Lord, The plight of our country is deep and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening, therefore, we ask you Lord to spare our lives, and to grant us patience, and courage to continue our witness of Christian values with trust and hope. Lord, peace is the foundation of life; Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us to live with each other without fear and anxiety, and with dignity and joy. Glory be to you forever. Amen
Facts We Should Know About The Persecution Of Christians
Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide. An average of at least 180 Christians around the world are killed each month for their faith. These numbers have dramatically and tragically increased in the last few months with thousands of Christians being executed by Islamic extremists. (Source: Open Doors USA)
Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Christ. (Source: U.S. Department of State)
In 41 of the 50 worst nations for persecution, Christians are being persecuted by Islamic extremists. (Source: Open Doors)
One of the worst countries in the world for the persecution of Christians is North Korea. With the exception of four official state-controlled churches in Pyongyang, Christians in North Korea face the risk of detention in the prison camps, severe torture and, in some cases, execution for practicing their religious beliefs. North Koreans suspected of having contact with South Korean or other foreign missionaries in China, and those caught in possession of a Bible, have been known to be executed. (Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
These are trusted organizations that help Persecuted Christians: