Sri Lanka Easter Attacks 2019

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Now is the time for us to stand in solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters. For too long the world has widely ignored the persecution of Christians, with much of the media playing ignorant to this global issue.

The horror of the suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning has ricocheted across the globe, this is the only positive to come from such tragedy - the world is now waking up to Christian persecution.

Easter Morning Suicide Bombings of Churches, Hotels in Sri Lanka Kill 290

by Joop Koopman - 22.04.2019

IN SRI LANKA, suicide bombers hit three churches and hotels in coordinated, near simultaneous attacks Easter morning that left 290 people dead, while wounding an estimated 500 more.

The series of bombings began at approximately 8.45AM in the capital of Colombo with an explosion at St. Anthony Shrine, a historic church designated as the country’s national shrine. It is the country’s best-known Catholic church. Within about 45 minutes, a second Catholic church was hit, St. Sebastian’s, in Negomba, some 20 miles up the country’s western coast from Colombo. Subsequently, a bomb exploded at the Protestant Zion Church in Batticaloa, on the eastern coast.

During the same time period, there were explosions at three upscale hotels in Colombo that are popular with Westerners. There are several dozen foreigners among the dead. There are reports of two additional explosions in Colombo.

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Image from St Sebastian's Church, Katuwapitiya, Negombo, Sri Lanka Facebook Page posted on Sunday 21st April, 1.25pm.

Drama at Notre-Dame: watch, pray, do not be discouraged

by Pierre Macqueron

On Monday 15 April, the first day of Holy Week, the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris was ravaged by a terrible fire. This was a drama which invited us to pray unceasingly, and without being discouraged.

Shortly before 8pm, the burning spire collapsed into the nave of the cathedral. The fire, which had broken out around 6.50pm in the timbers of the roof, was overcome by about 3.30am, according to the Paris firefighters. Two-thirds of the roof has been destroyed. Ravaged by flames in the night of 15-16 April, the building - the most visited in Europe, welcoming between 12 and 14 million visitors and pilgrims each year - had stood through history and survived countless events, from the French Revolution to the Second World War. An enquiry into ‘involuntary destruction by fire’ has been opened.

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A photograph inside Notre Dame Cathedral shows some of the damage after the fire. Copyright Phillippe Wojazer.  

“I get back a lot more than I give!” - Interview with Sister Medhin Tesfay (Ethiopia)

11.03.2019 by Eva-Maria Kolmann

Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state in East Africa; Christianity has been established there for almost 2000 years. At about 43 per cent, the majority of the population is Orthodox Christian, but Islam is on the rise at 34 per cent. The Catholic Church only arrived on the territory of what is today Ethiopia in the 19th century. Its members are only a minority at one per cent of the population. In spite of this, the Church plays a very important role in the educational system and is active in caring for the poor, which has given it an esteemed position in society.

Sister Medhin Tesfay (44) has belonged to the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul (Vincentians) for 26 years and works in the diocese of Adigrat in the northern part of Ethiopia. She talked about her work and her vocation with the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The interview was held by Eva-Maria Kolmann.

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Sister Tesfay Medhin. Photographer Ursula Walach Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

The Sisters of the Congregation Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) in Pakistan

  • Founded in 1914 in Italy by Fr. Giacomo Alberione
  • Fr. Alberione understood the ever increasing influence of the media and wanted to use the media as a means of evangelisation
  • The charism of the Daughters of St. Paul is the proclamation via the mass media. They have libraries, edit and print Christian books and use other means of mass communications (radio, magazines etc.)
  • There are about 2.500 sisters in 50 countries of the world.
  • Despite representing less than two percent in a country populated almost entirely by Muslims, there are at least 1.1 million Catholics in Pakistan, a figure comparable with the number of practising Catholics for example in Great Britain. Up to 85 percent of the Christian population live in villages, mostly as “bonded labour” entirely dependent on urban-based landlords often incited by militant forms of Islam. When job vacancies arise, preference automatically goes to Muslims. When the Christians do get jobs – mostly as farm labourers, domestic cooks and cleaners and road sweepers – pay is woefully poor. Child labour is commonplace – parents can’t afford education and daren’t spare them from the workplace for fear of the landlord docking their pay. Lacking identity cards and the right to vote, they have virtually no political representation. Nor do they have any legitimate access to health care.
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Daughters of Sant Paul Congregation in Pakistan: The sisters selling religious literature outside in the Diocese of Lahore. Photographer Bartek Zytkowiak. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

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