Consecrated men, women denounce persecution of Christians

Displaced people fleeing violence in Iraq walk toward the Syrian border town of Elierbeh last summer.  (CNS/Reuters)

Displaced people fleeing violence in Iraq walk toward the Syrian border town of Elierbeh last summer. (CNS/Reuters)

By Laura Ieraci Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — Consecrated men and women from around the world issued a message April 10 “to urgently denounce” the persecution of Christians and to urge the international community to “implement concrete interventions” for peace.

The message was signed by Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Institutes of Apostolic Life, on behalf of the nearly 1,300 Catholic religious gathered for an international congress in Rome. The participants at the April 7-11 conference represent dozens of religious congregations and thousands of religious men and women worldwide.

“We feel particularly close to those in the world who are suffering because of their faith in Jesus Christ and we express our communion with all consecrated men and women who, in the various peripheries of the world, suffer because they are Christian and consecrated,” said the message.

The religious thanked their suffering brothers and sisters for “their witness of fidelity” to their vocation and mission and for remaining “close to those who suffer,” assuring them of their prayers.

They also said they join Pope Francis and the whole church in praying “so that peace, the gift of the risen Lord, can overcome hatred and violence and so that all people can recognize themselves as brothers and sisters.”

They prayed that “the perpetrators of violence will turn their hearts to God.”

The message concluded with a petition of intercession to Mary “so that peace and harmony may be granted to the whole world.”

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