Aside from remembering the world’s persecuted Christians, this year’s “Red Wednesday” will be dedicated in praying for the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll.
The Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Philippines said the November 25 celebration aims to rekindle hope amidst “darkness”.
“Undeniably, we live in a difficult time wherein hope seems so far away… faith may weaken… and love hard to be found,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of ACN Philippines.
Villegas invites dioceses, parishes and other church institutions to join the event, dubbed as “Red means love: One Church against COVID-19″.
An initiative of the ACN, the papal charity for persecuted Christians, Red Wednesday is a global event to remember those who cannot practice their faith freely throughout the world.
First organized in the United Kingdom in 2016, the Philippines started joining the campaign the following year.
As a highlight, church edifices are illuminated in red light, a color that the Church associates with martyrdom.
On Jan. 25, 2020, the Philippine bishops’ conference officially institutionalized the annual celebration of Red Wednesday in all dioceses.
But Villegas said that the health crisis “forced on us a new face of suffering”.
“Lockdowns have grievously affected poverty-stricken communities. Infected by the virus now count to millions. And it continues to claim lives with impunity,” he said.
The archbishop said the color red also connotes love that is courage, patient endurance and compassion.
“It is the courage of our frontliners, the patient endurance of our COVID survivors, and above all the compassion of God made manifest through the Church and his people,” he added.
ACN Philippines will also mark Red Wednesday with an online recollection concert at 7:30pm on its Facebook page.