Pilgrims Recall Christians Still Suffering for Faith

LONDON, MAY 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Pilgrims at the national Marian shrines of Scotland and England gathered to remember that martyrdom and persecution for the faith are not things of the past, and to pray for suffering members of the Church.

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The international charity Aid to the Church in Need sponsored pilgrimages Saturday at Carfin Grotto in Scotland and Walsingham in England.

Lorraine McMahon, ACN head of operations in Scotland, described how the «Knights of St. Columba carried the Madonna and we prayed for every continent in the world.»

There was «a mixture of age groups,» she said, «which in itself brings hope.»

After a Mass the charity’s U.K. director, Neville Kyrke-Smith, reflected on the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s inaugural homily: “Be not afraid, open the doors to Christ.»

Kyrke-Smith said John Paul II’s message is «still relevant today for Christians enduring so much for their faith.»

The Walsingham pilgrimage organizer, Michael Cowie, spoke of the «profound spirit of prayer» that characterized the event.

«[W]e met together to commend the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters to Our Lady,» he said.

ACN first held events for the persecuted Church at Walsingham and Carfin in the 1970s.

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