Pope Francis Calls for Prayers for Modern-Day Martyrs

Pope Francis Calls for Prayers for Modern-Day Martyrs

"For the martyrs of our day, witnesses to Christ". In the new release from The Pope Video, Pope Francis requests prayers for the new martyrs of our day so that they might “imbue the Church with their courage and missionary drive.”
Introducing his prayer intention for the month of March, Pope Francis decides to share a story which he says "is a reflection of the Church today" and one that is "the story of a little-known witness of faith".

Emphasizing the importance of such modern-day martyrs, Pope Francis remarked that their courage and sacrifice serve as a beacon of inspiration for the entire Church. "Their witness is a blessing for all," he affirmed, underscoring the significance of martyrdom as a testament to unwavering faith in the face of adversity.

Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network, in collaboration with Aid to the Church In Need (ACN), released a poignant video accompanying the prayer intention. Featuring the story of the Christian woman who bravely faced death rather than forsake her beliefs, the video also highlights the courageous acts of individuals like Akash Bashir, the first Servant of God from Pakistan, who sacrificed his life to thwart a terrorist attack on a church.

In a sobering reflection of the present reality, the press release accompanying the prayer intention revealed chilling statistics from ACN, indicating a surge in religious persecution worldwide. Reports from 2023 alone documented assassinations and abductions of individuals due to their faith in 40 countries, with Nigeria bearing the brunt of such atrocities. Additionally, incidents of violence against Christians in Pakistan and Burkina Faso underscored the widespread persecution faced by believers.

As the faithful unite in prayer for the martyrs of our time, Pope Francis urges believers to draw strength from their unwavering faith and missionary zeal. Their courageous witness, he believes, will continue to inspire and embolden the Church in its mission worldwide.

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