Students in UK #BreaktheSilence on persecuted Christians around the world

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Each year in November, Aid to the Church in Need dedicates a week to bringing attention to religious freedom and the persecution of Christians around the world. The climax is Red Wednesday. And this year, schools in the United Kingdom are doing what they can to get involved.

Principal, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School

It's highlighting persecuted Christians throughout the world and we're encouraged to wear red. But just only that, lots of different activities. In the past, we've done things like cake sales and lots of fun activities and taking selfies and montages. So we've done it kind of light touch in the past, but we really wanted to go even further this year because it is absolutely in line with our mission as a school because we talk about being people of integrity, compassion and service.

Open Doors' 2023 World Watch List reported that more than 360 million Christians face intense persecution and discrimination. This means that 1 in every 7 Christians does not have religious freedom.

One student in the United Kingdom says that Red Wednesday helps break the stigma on talking about persecution and encourages people of all ages to get involved.

Student, St. Bede's Catholic School

We can stand up and we can say this isn't right. We have the power; we have the energy. We have God-given gifts and talents that we can use to raise awareness of this, whether that be public-speaking or whether that be music—whatever that may be, sitting in a quiet corner of a classroom and saying a prayer or saying the rosary. And kind of just standing up and saying: 'We believe this. Nobody should be persecuted for that. Why are they being persecuted for that?'

For many students, this week dedicated to persecuted Christians has opened their eyes to the situation of many young people around the world who cannot go to Mass or make the sign of the cross in public.

Student, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School

It makes you feel grateful that you have the liberty to do those things. But I think it also makes you more compassionate and more able to empathize with those who can't.

Student, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School

Because we don't really have the experience of being in difficult place being in this priviledged society.

For these students, speaking out against any form of persecution and discrimination continues long after Red Wednesday. Throughout the year, they will continue to hold bake sales and write to their local political authorities to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves.


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