On March 5, 2016, a meeting organised by the Lay Claretian Movement was held in Wroclaw, Poland. Our guest speaker from Open Doors Poland was talking about the current situation of the persecuted Christians around the world.
Open Doors is an international Christian organization which mission is to bring help to the persecuted Christians. Our guest started from presenting to us the World Watch List of Persecutions 2016, describing the situation in the first ten countries.
Our guest made it clear that behind the statistics and lists, there are real people who have experienced horrifying moments. In some of the testimonies, he recalled family members who struggle to overcome their grief and desire to revenge their husbands, wives, or children. In one interview that we could see, a 10-year-old girl was talking about her destroyed home in Bakhdida, Iraq, and how she misses her best friend from school. When asked if she would hurt the people who made her run away from her hometown, she replied, “I wouldn’t hurt those people who made me suffer. I’d rather pray to God to forgive them. I’m just sad that they did it…”
He also described how the Christians in Nigeria organise themselves to protect their brothers and sisters. During the mass, a group of male volunteers stays outside look for any sign of danger. When they see a car running fast towards the church, they give warning signals to make the driver stop. If it does not work and it becomes clear that it is a terrorist attack, they throw stones, sacks with sand, and tree branches to put the car off track and make it explode anywhere but at the church walls. When asked, “But doesn’t it mean that you may die in that case?” the interviewee responds, “I know, but Jesus said that There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
In the second part of the meeting, we discussed on how we could get involved in helping our persecuted brothers and sisters. Our guest said that the key actions are prayer and fasting. He encouraged us also to get involved in letter writing to those who had lost their loved ones or have been in prisons for their faith. Again, he recalled testimonies of those, who dramatically need such a support from us. He also described what the organization does and how we can get involved financially in some of their projects.
As you have probably notices, the name of our guest from Open Doors is not mentioned here. It is to protect him and his family, because he is about to visit one of the countries that are at the top of the Watch List. He cannot be seen in any photo, either.
We would like to thank Fr. Aleksander Bober CMF and other Claretian Missionaries from Wroclaw, Poland, who hosted the event, for their hospitality. We would also like to thank Fr. Krzysztof Gierat CMF who took honourable patronage over the event. Last but not least, we would like to thank Maria Wilczynska who provided us with a beautiful violin mini-recital that emphasized the theme of the meeting.
More info about OPEN DOORS International: www.opendoors.org – you can invite them to schools, communities, parishes!