This past week, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, once again drew attention to the fate of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
In a letter to Archbishop Maroun Lahham, the pontiff wrote that these suffering Christians “are the martyrs of today, humiliated and discriminated against because of their fidelity to the Gospel.” He went on to state that these believers are victims of “fanaticism and intolerance” throughout the world.
Pope Francis stated: “In turn, world opinion can be more attentive, sensitive and sympathetic [in the] face of persecution carried out against Christians and, more generally of religious minorities…It renews the hope that the international community does not assist [and is] mute and inert in the face of this unacceptable crime, which is an alarming human rights [problem] and is the most essential and prevents the richness of coexistence among peoples, cultures and faiths.”
Have we forgotten that our brothers and sisters in the faith (and other religious minorities) are suffering under the sword?
One group that has not forgotten is the Knights of Columbus. This past week, the Knights launched a new campaign – the K of C Christian Refugee Relief Fund. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson writes:
“Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as other religious minorities, continue to face violent persecution and the very real prospect of extinction. Thousands have fled their homelands to escape forced conversion or martyrdom.
“Our Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund donated $2.2 million to help these families in Iraq. Our donation paid for the construction of new homes on property owned by the Chaldean-rite Archdiocese of Erbil.
“The houses were built mostly for Iraqi Christians who were driven from their homes in Mosul and the surrounding area – many of whom have been unable to find room even in emergency shelters.
“We also gave $150,000 to provide emergency medical care for refugees in Erbil this summer. Our Christian Refugee Relief Fund has also sent $200,000 in general aid to the Melkite-rite Archeparchy of Aleppo, Syria. And more recently, an additional $150,000 was donated after the diocesan facilities were bombed.”
Just because the secular media doesn’t report about this suffering on a daily basis doesn’t mean we should put it out of our minds. Our diocesan nightly news show, Currents on NET-TV, has been staying on top of the story, keeping viewers informed about the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East.
Let’s not forget that they need our help. Let’s support the Knights’ fund.