Beati qui Persecutionem

By: Augusto Urbano II
December 01, 2023

The facade of the institution turns red in commemoration of those who's lives were persecuted due to religious relations and activities. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Nollora Jr. of The LANCE.

“beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter iustitiam quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum” -Matthew 5:10 

The universal Church celebrates Red Wednesday in commemoration of all the Christians who were martyred and under persecution. The color red is symbolic of the blood that was shed by the martyrs of the Catholic Church who suffered persecution because of their beliefs. 

In this day and age, Catholic Christians still suffer this kind of persecution and discrimination from other religions and people who do not share the same belief in God. People get killed and many are put to jail, harassed, and fallen victims to violence because of what they believe. 

In 2016, ACN in the United Kingdom lit up some of its most iconic landmarks, including the Westminster Palace and Cathedral, with red to commemorate Red Wednesday. In 2017, the Philippines became involved in the initiative and asked other parishes, Catholic universities, and schools for support. 

It continues to be pertinent today because of its objective of raising consciousness regarding the plight of religious minorities, particularly Christians who are victimized by persecution, violence, and prejudice all over the world. Fostering religious tolerance and freedom, as well as fighting for people's rights to practice their faith openly and without fear of reprisal is the mission of this noble initiative. 

There are typically presentations, prayer vigils, and awareness campaigns dedicated for this particular event. The organizations taking part are human rights and religious, supporting individuals being persecuted for their faith. Although Christians are the primary focus, the overall message is one of liberty of religion for all individuals, regardless of faith. 

Truly, the passage from Matthew 5:10 perfectly encompasses the mission of Red Wednesday as this scripture highlights the heavenly blessing given upon people who suffer persecution or suffering as they are committed to living a moral and just life. It says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." 

It calls on believers to cling to the everlasting hope of the heavenly kingdom, reaffirming that suffering for the cause of virtue is consistent with Jesus' teachings and results in spiritual recompense. It demands a serious examination of the importance of moral integrity and the courage to overcome hardships in the name of living a morally upright life.


Letran commemorates Red Wednesday

Colegio de San Juan de Letrán continues to follow this initiative to honor, commemorate, and raise awareness for people under these challenges that plague the Church, where the community held a Mass led by Rev. Fr. Conrado Marra, OP on Wednesday evening, November 29, at the Letran Chapel.

During his homily, Fr. Marra expressed his empathy and prayers for those Christian who were persecuted. He also stated that 24 countries endure oppression and persecution.

“Once a person steps into the group he/she will receive the love, glory, and wisdom amidst the persecution,” he said towards those victims.

As part of the Eucharistic celebration, Fr. Marra offered a litany, where they prayed for those who experienced sufferings and asked for protection, strength, consolation, and remembrance of the ones who gave up their lives for faith.

After the mass, they presented a short video to commemorate the Red Wednesday celebration. They also prayed the Holy Rosary in front of the cross that was set up outside the Colegio.

Let us all pray for our persecuted brethren all over the world, that they may inherit the peace in the kingdom of God that they have not had the opportunity to experience in this world. Amen.