This year’s Red Wednesday—a day of remembering the world’s persecuted Christians—will be dedicated to praying for the Philippines as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Philippines, says this year’s Red Wednesday aims to rekindle hope in Filipinos amidst “darkness.” The November 25 celebration, dubbed as “Red means love: One Church against COVID-19,” will be attended by different dioceses, parishes, and other church institutions from across the country.
The Red Wednesday celebrations is an annual initiative of the ACN and is a global event to remember those who cannot practice their faith freely throughout the world. The ACN is known as an international papal charity dedicated to persecuted Christians.
For Frontliners and COVID-19 Victims
According to Archbishop Villegas, the ongoing health crisis has “forced on us a new face of suffering.” (Read: 4 Modern-Day Martyrs Whose Deaths Changed the World)
“Lockdowns have grievously affected poverty-stricken communities. Infected by the virus now count to millions, and it continues to claim lives with impunity,” he said.
The archbishop also said that the color of red connotes the love and compassion that help frontliners and patients to keep going amid the health crisis. “It is the courage of our frontliners, the patient endurance of our COVID survivors, and above all the compassion of God made manifest through the Church and his people [that keep us going],” he said.
The first-ever Red Wednesday celebration was organized in the United Kingdom in 2016. In the following year, the Philippines started joining the campaign.
A highlight of the annual event is the illumination of red light in church edifices. It comes as the Church has long associated the color of red with the concept of martyrdom. (LIST: Christian Persecutions Happening Around the World)
On January 25, 2020, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has officially institutionalized the annual celebration of Red Wednesday in all dioceses.