Sri Lanka - First Mass Celebrated in St Sebastian's Church After the 2019 Easter Attacks - Many Christians still Severely Traumatised

by Matthias Böhnke edited by Laura Cain

The first Holy Mass was celebrated on the 21st of July at St. Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, Sri Lanka, three months after the attack on Easter Sunday (April 21st)  where a suicide bomber killed close to 100 people. The statue of Jesus covered in the martyrs' blood stands at the front of the Church.  The Holy Mass was attended by 1000 people including victims of the attack and was celebrated by Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. A special security plan was in place surrounding the church premises.

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A statue of Christ that was in St Sebastian's Church was splattered with the blood of the victims. It is now surrounded by glass and venerated in memory of those that lost their lives whilst worshipping on Easter Sunday.
Photographer/Author: Bartek Zytkowiak
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

Ecumenism: Catholics and Russian Orthodox collaborate to help Christians in the Middle East

by Eva-Maria Kolmann

A delegation from the Moscow Patriarchate visited the international headquarters of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need over the last few days to discuss further joint aid campaigns in the Middle East.

On 16 and 17 July, a delegation from the Moscow Patriarchate visited the international headquarters of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The subject under discussion was the development of further joint projects in Syria and Iraq in response to the appeal made by Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill to their Churches in February 2016 during their historic meeting in Havana. At the heart of their message was, among other things, the collaboration between the two Churches to help Christians in need and particularly those in the Middle East.

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Visit of a delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate to ACN Headquarters to discuss common projects in the Middle East to reinforce the common efforts of Catholics and Orthodox to help suffering Christians in the Middle East. Photographer: Eva-Maria Kolmann. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

NICARAGUA: “The unity of the Church is the greatest strength that we bishops have”

by Maria Lozano.

Nicaragua is still shaken by the crisis that began 14 months ago. The country continues to make headlines – such as in mid-June with the pardoning of almost one hundred people who were still imprisoned for protesting against the government the year before. This matter was also addressed at the General Assembly of the Organization of American States held in Medellín from 26 to 28 June. The situation in the Central American country is critical, with a great degree of polarisation and a lot of confrontation. Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos of Matagalpa talked about this during a visit to the international headquarters of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

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Nicaragua is still shaken by the crisis that began 14 months ago. Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos talked about this to ACN. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Bishop of Dori (Burkina Faso) Asks to Stop the Outside Support for the Jihadists

by Marta Petrosillo

“If the world continues to do nothing, the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence in this area and quite possibly in future from the entire country.” These were the warning words given to the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) by Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré of the diocese of Dori, in the northeast of Burkina Faso, following the umpteenth attack against Christians in the country recently.

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Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré of the diocese of Dori, in the northeast of Burkina Faso.

Eritrean regime seizes all Catholic-run health services.
Sick forced from beds as 21 hospitals and clinics forced to close

Thousands of sick people across Eritrea are being deprived of vital medical care after the government seized three hospitals, two health centres and 16 clinics.

Government soldiers forced patients from their beds and out of the clinics and seized religious houses as they confiscated the 21 health institutes run by the Catholic Church, serving at least 170,000 people every year.

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