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Bishop Paul Sirba: Bishops’ meeting offered resources for responding to persecution

Jul 12, 2017

How do Christians respond to persecution? I refer you to an excellent report prepared in partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture, the Religious Freedom Institute, and Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Research Project. Aid to the Church in Need closely collaborated as well.

“Under Caesar’s Sword: Christian Response to Persecution” is a project that began in 2014 involving world class scholars and first-hand research on Christian responses to persecution in 25 countries. There is a great video documentary accessible on the project’s website, ucs.nd.edu.

Bishop Paul Sirba
Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

Information was distributed at our last bishop’s meeting in June and corresponds well to our ongoing work on religious liberty here and abroad. The statistics are sobering. While not alone, Christians are the most widely targeted religious community, suffering persecution around the globe.

Our brothers and sisters respond with strategies of survival, association, and confrontation. Christian responses to persecution are almost always nonviolent and, with very few exceptions, do not involve acts of terrorism.

In addition to our prayers, becoming educated, and welcoming the immigrant, there is much we can do to help those in need. Recommendations for action are provided for persecuted communities, churches, governments, media, academics, and businesses in the report. Our Fortnight for Freedom and ongoing fight for religious liberty this year can continue with your prayers at the Mass on the Fourth of July and becoming informed through the findings of the Under Caesar’s Sword project on global Christian communities.

Please pray for God’s blessings upon the Totus Tuus teams and our summer youth camps. Hundreds of youths will be accompanied by young missionaries on fire, prayer teams, youth ministers, diocesan leaders, and priests. We are so blest to be able to support parents in their beautiful responsibility to form their sons and daughters in Christ. On behalf of our Office for Indian Ministry, and the parish of St. Charles in Cass Lake, I invite you to a Mass in honor of St. Kateri on her feast day of July 14. Mass is scheduled at 6 p.m., followed by a picnic. I also ask your prayers for the annual Tekakwitha Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota, this July and the delegation from Duluth under the kindly wing of Sister Rose Messingschlager, CDP.

I hope all of you are able to enjoy the natural beauties of our beloved diocese this July. Family time, the lake, a little rest and relaxation are food for the soul. Our Lord went fishing with his disciples, and we are so blest to do what Jesus did here in Minnesota. Truth, goodness, and beauty are a recipe for a great summer. Peace!

Bishop Paul Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.