Canberrans stand in solidarity with Christianity’s modern-day martyrs
Australia’s national capital has now joined the select list of cities that have hosted Night of the Witnesses.
An initiative of the international Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, the special commemorations originated in Paris 15 years ago to honour Christianity’s modern-day martyrs and those persecuted on account of their faith.
Previously the nights have been held in several of the world’s great cities, including Washington DC, London, and Madrid. In a distinction for our Archdiocese, St Christopher’s Cathedral last night hosted Australia’s first-ever Night of the Witnesses.
Presided by Archbishop Christopher Prowse, the solemn evening of prayer, hymns, and testimonies also included a candle-lit procession remembering the lives and stories of over 20 contemporary martyrs who died for their faith around the world.
A procession of images of the martyrs from countries including Nigeria, Mexico, El Salvador, and Egypt, coincided with a brief reading of their ‘martyrology’ or stories. Interspersed throughout the evening was time given to prayer, reflection and thanks for the witness of their lives.
The gathering heard from three distinguished guest speakers: Regina Lynch, the Germany-based international head of projects for Aid to the Church in Need; Cardinal Archbishop Joseph Coutts, former Archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan; and Archbishop Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand and former Archbishop of Mosul in Iraq.
His Grace related first-hand stories of life under persecution from the militant organisation, ISIS.
“With faith and courage we can defeat any evil without fear,” Archbishop Amela Nona said.