Pope Francis expressed his support for a day of Remembrance for Christians who have been martyred and persecuted around the world.
The Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) launched the initiative and have chosen May 23rd, the eve of Pentecost as a day of remembrance and prayer for Christians who have been martyred. To coincide with the event, the CEI has also launched a hashtag on their official Twitter account, entitled #free2pray.
Citing the words of Pope Francis, the Italian bishops explained the importance of remembering Christians deprived of life and religious freedom. “This situation challenges us deeply and compels us to unite ourselves, in Italy and in the world, in a great gesture of prayer to God and of closeness with our brothers and sisters,” they stated.
“We implore the Lord, we bow before the martyrdom of innocent people, to break the walls of indifference and cynicism, far from every denominational or ideological exploitation.”
For his part, the Holy Father praised the initiative to “remember so many brothers and sister exiled or killed for the sole fact of being Christian.”
“They are martyrs!” he exclaimed.
“I hope that this moment of prayer increases the awareness that religious freedom is an inalienable human right, [and that it] increase awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians in our time and for an end to this unacceptable crime,” Pope Francis concluded.