Camelite sisters behind the altar in the entrance of their monastery for Corpus Domini © Aid to the Church in Need

The pilgrims in Fatima who arrived early on 13th September at the Chapel of the Apparitions were greeted with a somewhat unusual sight - a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague being carried in the arms of a religious sister in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. This image of the Christ Child, dressed as King in festive white robes, was later that day to enjoy a great triumph when, at the end of the Solemn Holy Mass on the square of the Fatima shrine, it was solemnly presented by Cardinal Dominik Duka, the Archbishop of Prague, to Bishop António Augusto dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, in whose diocese the famous Fatima shrine is of course situated. 


Bishop Cyr-Nestor Yapaupa negotiating with rebel forces © Aid to the Church in Need

Sadly, the Central African Republic has never truly known peace. In the 57 years since it gained independence, this country - one of the poorest in the world - has suffered one military coup after another. It is hard to keep track of all the different armed groups in the country today. Their names may differ but the crimes they commit are the same everywhere - looting, burning, rape, abduction, murder.

Red Wednesday is a commendable initiative - Cardinal Piacenza the international President of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) 
• An Interview with His Eminence Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, International President of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) 

Seminarians from Our Lady of Lourdes Minor Seminary in Lalazar
© Aid to the Church in Need

Attacks against Christians are a regular occurrence in Pakistan today. Almost every priest in the country has at some time received anonymous threatening phone calls or letters. Even the bishops of the country receive threatening letters, demanding that they convert to Islam. Attacks on churches and Church properties are frequent and increasing - and sometimes they are much more serious than simply stone throwing. There have also been suicide attacks, bomb attacks, armed attacks, arson attacks and assaults by angry mobs. The danger of such attacks is a constant one. Many churches are under police protection, and the government has required the Church to take increased security measures.

The current shrine at the Baromari Mission in the Diocese of Mymensingh © Aid to the Church in Need

Recently, the Catholics of Bangladesh have had reason to rejoice on two separate occasions. First of all in November 2016, when their Archbishop Patrick D‘Rosario of Dhaka was made a cardinal - the first ever in his country. It was a great moment for many people in Bangladesh, and not only for the Catholics. Then in 2017 there was a still more amazing piece of news, when Pope Francis announced that he would be visiting this country in Southeast Asia from 30 November to 2nd December. 

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