US Bishops Launch Appeal to Pray for Those Persecuted for Faith Worldwide

Echo Pope Francis’ Words That Murder of Coptic Christians Is a ‘Testimony Which Cries Out to Be Heard’

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In the wake of the killing of the 21 Coptic Christians’ murder, the U.S. Bishops have invited people of all faiths to pray for those being persecuted for their faith around the world.

This was the central statement of a statement on religious persecution issued yesterday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee yesterday.

Along with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), who serves as its chair, the administrative committee also consists of the elected chairs of the 16 standing committees, the elected representatives of 15 geographic regions, the chairman of Catholic Relief Services and the elected officers of USCCB.

They reflected how, upon learning of the death of 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIL terrorists, Pope Francis called their murder a «testimony which cries out to be heard.»

“On behalf of America’s Catholic Bishops,” the statement continued, “we pause to listen and invite people of all faiths to join us in prayer for those facing the stark reality of religious persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere.”

The testimony of those 21 brave and courageous martyrs, they underscored, does not stand alone, especially «as thousands of families – Christian and other religions – find themselves fleeing from horrific violence.»

Moreover, they urged all people of goodwill to work toward protections of the marginalized and persecuted.

“In union with the local Churches and the Holy See, we call upon our nation to: work with the international community to intervene and protect the rights of religious minorities and civilians within the framework of international and humanitarian law; address political and economic exclusion that are exploited by extremists; and increase humanitarian and development assistance.”

“Lent is a season to meditate upon the Cross and unite ourselves even more closely with Christ’s suffering,” they said. “Let us use this season to unite with our suffering brothers and sisters and pray for them and with them in a special way.»

With hope, they concluded, “let us pray for the day when we can all share in the joy and lasting peace of Christ’s Resurrection.”

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On the NET:

On US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Website, click here to read the statement: http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-040.cfm

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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