The number of Christian martyrs has tripled in two years. :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2016 / 04:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In 2013, there were some 2,100 Christians killed for faith-related reasons across the globe. Last year, that number rose to at least 7,100, according to a recent report from an advocacy group.“The persecution of Christians is getting worse – in every region in which we work – and it’s getting worse fast,” Lisa Pearce, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, said in the group’s 2016 report. “Many countries have dropped down the list, not because persecution there is decreasing, but simply because others are getting worse faster. And it wasn’t good three years ago.”“We can and must be strenuous in protecting Christians and all others facing persecution for their faith,” Pearce added.Open Doors has worked to help persecuted Christians for over 60 years. It was founded by a Dutchman known as Brother Andrew. He smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe at a time when communist regimes severely restricted Christianity and other religions.The organization works in 60 countries. Each year, it compiles instances of anti-Christian persecution and evaluates the global situation.

Source: The number of Christian martyrs has tripled in two years. :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam

Vicar of Baghdad: Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam, Telling ISIS Militants ‘No, We Love Jesus’

By Samuel Smith , CP Reporter

December 2, 2014|2:12 pm

Rev. Canon Andrew White Speaks About The Persecution of Iraqi Christians.,

“Four Iraqi Christian children, who were all beheaded by the Islamic State, refused to betray Jesus and graciously died in his name when the ISIS militants gave them one last chance to say the Islamic words of conversion, the Rev. Canon Andrew White revealed in a recent interview.

In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcast Network published on the Orthodox Christian Network, White, who is the only Anglican vicar in Iraq and is know as “The Vicar of Baghdad,” detailed the plight of Christians in Iraq and recounted two instances when Islamic State’s forceful conversions directly pulled the strings of his heart.

Speaking on ISIS’ brutal mistreatment of religious minorities, White recounted the recent incident when ISIS militants beheaded four kids, all of whom were under the age of 15, when the kids refused to say that they would follow the Prophet Muhammad and told the ISIS fighters that they will always “love” and “follow” Jesus.”

via Vicar of Baghdad: Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam, Telling ISIS Militants ‘No, We Love Jesus’.

Days of Darkness–Days of Light

Happy Anniversary!

You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

Yup, Word Press congratulated me!  Four years today!  To celebrate, I’m re-blogging my first post with a bit of tweeking to fit the season.

 

Days of Darkness–Days of Light

We just celebrated the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  It was he, who said in a letter addressed to the Roman church (Rom.5:20), “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more"  Well, here’s the vision, as it was told to me. I want you to picture it so that you feel it with your heart:

You and I squeak in,  passing  through those towering Pearly Gates.  People of all ages overwhelm even our enhanced understanding of the generations descended from Adam and Eve.  We can’t wait to embrace them.  We know them intimately. Instantly, we know their stories.  These are those who lived Salvation history.

“What was it like?”,  we ask over and again?   These, after all, are those who walked dry shod through the walls of water escaping Pharaoh’s chariots.  Here, too,  are the masses who had pressed upon the Christ.  They’d witnessed the manner and miracles of Jesus.  Some has eaten the bread and fish He’d multiplied.  Others admitted that they had shouted, “Crucify Him.”  Others had stood along the way as He pushed on to Calvary. The martyrs from all past centuries were among the most joyful.  They now rejoiced that their blood shed for Christ seeded the proceeding eons to bear fruit in such as we.

For all our eagerness to express our gratitude to them and give glory to God, they pressed the more upon us, for their need js to know our stories.  “Tell us,”  they asked, “how black did the times become when men who pretend to knowledge denied life in the womb.  How dark were the days in which the hearts of mothers died, choosing  to bring forth corpses instead of  living children.  You, who lived with blindness and deafness,  how did you survive?  Like Peter, was it repentance that  re-ignited your flame?   How did you find courage walking  the Valley of the Shadow of Death?  How bright was the Light that brought you home?”

That Light is shining now, on everyone. Who will guide the blind and who will lead the thirsty to the Living Water, if not you and me.

Great Atrocities Demand Remembrance and Hope

From Catholic Sistas:

The response to great atrocities, whether the Holocaust during World War II, the Rwandan massacres, or our own American Abortion Holocaust must be to remember. As Wiesel said, “We must remember the suffering…[and] struggle to invent a thousand and one reasons to hope.” The stories, especially those of hope,  not only respect the victims of the past, they give courage to new generations fighting to overcome the darkness of the present.

Stolen name replaced by number,
Savaged soul and broken heart.
Hell, a people to encumber.

Blind eyes outside in darkness.
Dead souls dismissed the human face.
Stolen name replaced by number

Rising from the ashes,
Pledging nevermore.
Hell, a people to encumber

Yad VaShem, the vault of memory,
Yad VaShem, the ground of tears
Stolen name replaced by number

Shoah: families, children.
Here named, remembered, mourned
Hell, a people to encumber

Faces pictured in the silence.
Tears cried forevermore.
Stolen name replaced by number
Hell, a people to encumber

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander

(experimental Villanelle)

Yad vashem

Rose before dawn,
Nestled life in bud.
Sun of mother-love withdrawn.
Rose before dawn
Life, so sweet, soon gone.
Red flower, the color of blood.
Rose before dawn
Nestled life in bud.

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander

Today the Catholic Church Honors Paul Miki and His Companions.

Today the Catholic Church honors Paul Miki and his companions.

From an account of the martyrdom of Saint Paul Miki and his
companions, by a contemporary writer.
(Cap. 14, 109-110: Acta Sanctorum Febr. 1, 769)
You shall be my witnesses

The crosses were set in place. Father Pasio and Father Rodriguez took turns encouraging the victims. Their steadfast behavior was wonderful to see. The Father Bursar stood motionless, his eyes turned heavenward. Brother Martin gave thanks to Gods goodness by singing psalms. Again and again he repeated: Into your hands, Lord, I entrust my life. Brother Francis Branco also thanked God in a loud voice. Brother Gonsalvo in a very loud voice kept saying the Our Father and Hail Mary.

Our brother, Paul Miki, saw himself standing now in the noblest pulpit he had ever filled. To his congregation he began by proclaiming himself a Japanese and a Jesuit. He was dying for the Gospel he preached. He gave thanks to God for this wonderful blessing and he ended his sermon with these words: As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.

Then he looked at his comrades and began to encourage them in their final struggle. Joy glowed in all their faces, and in Louis most of all. When a Christian in the crowd cried out to him that he would soon be in heaven, his hands, his whole body strained upward with such joy that every eye was fixed on him.

Anthony, hanging at Louis side, looked toward heaven and called upon the holy namesJesus, Mary! He began to sing a psalm: Praise the Lord, you children! (He learned it in catechism class in Nagasaki. They take care there to teach the children some psalms to help them learn their catechism.) Others kept repeating Jesus, Mary! Their faces were serene. Some of them even took to urging the people standing by to live worthy Christian lives. In these and other ways they showed their readiness to die.

Then, according to Japanese custom, the four executioners began to unsheathe their spears. At this dreadful sight, all the Christians cried out, Jesus, Mary! And the storm of anguished weeping then rose to batter the very skies. The executioners killed them one by one. One thrust of the spear, then a second blow. It was over in a very short time.

Read more here

Sent from my iPod

Making the Connection – My Rosary, My Weapon

The Anchoress had an encounter with Mystery.  Seems the little children of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco,  now beatified by John Paul II, want to get the word out;  the Rosary is our weapon!

Indeed, it is!  If you remember, the apparitions at Fatima occurred immediately before the Bolshevik Revolution.  Russia had little world power.  No one saw it as a menace when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave us her prophetic message,  that WW I would soon end but a far worse war would follow if our Lady’s warning was not heeded and Russia consecrated to her Immaculate Heart:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

The whole world is still at risk and in error.  Those who faced down the enemies of Faith have clung to their rosaries.  In Ukraine, blood and beads battled for the soul of that country. The Ukrainian Bishop of Lutsk, Markijam Trofimiak, wrote: A Monument to Heroism in Ukraine. He recounts:

Once at a symposium, I was asked: “Should it ever be decided to erect a monument in the Ukraine  to the person who has made the greatest contribution to safeguarding the faith in this land, to whom would it be justly dedicated?”. I pondered awhile before answering. In a flash, the faces of well-known priests who survived the concentration camps, Soviet prisons and years of physical and moral terror passed before my eyes. The witness to faith of these priests surpasses what we are accustomed to call “heroism”. Although remembering their undeniable merits, I answered: The monument would have to be dedicated to an elderly woman with the Rosary in her hands“.


Remembering

Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs

You shall be my witnesses
The crosses were set in place. Father Pasio and Father Rodriguez took turns encouraging the victims. Their steadfast behavior was wonderful to see. The Father Bursar stood motionless, his eyes turned heavenward. Brother Martin gave thanks to God’s goodness by singing psalms. Again and again he repeated: “Into your hands, Lord, I entrust my life.” Brother Francis Branco also thanked God in a loud voice. Brother Gonsalvo in a very loud voice kept saying the Our Father and Hail Mary.
Our brother, Paul Miki, saw himself standing now in the noblest pulpit he had ever filled. To his “congregation” he began by proclaiming himself a Japanese and a Jesuit. He was dying for the Gospel he preached. He gave thanks to God for this wonderful blessing and he ended his “sermon” with these words: “As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.”
Then he looked at his comrades and began to encourage them in their final struggle. Joy glowed in all their faces, and in Louis’ most of all. When a Christian in the crowd cried out to him that he would soon be in heaven, his hands, his whole body strained upward with such joy that every eye was fixed on him.
Anthony, hanging at Louis’ side, looked toward heaven and called upon the holy names – “Jesus, Mary!” He began to sing a psalm: “Praise the Lord, you children!” (He learned it in catechism class in Nagasaki. They take care there to teach the children some psalms to help them learn their catechism).
Others kept repeating “Jesus, Mary!” Their faces were serene. Some of them even took to urging the people standing by to live worthy Christian lives. In these and other ways they showed their readiness to die.
Then, according to Japanese custom, the four executioners began to unsheathe their spears. At this dreadful sight, all the Christians cried out, “Jesus, Mary!” And the storm of anguished weeping then rose to batter the very skies. The executioners killed them one by one. One thrust of the spear, then a second blow. It was over in a very short time.