A priest stands before the ruins of St. Mary's Syriac Orthodox parish in Homs. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

A priest stands before the ruins of St. Mary’s Syriac Orthodox parish in Homs. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

This week, CNA published several stories focusing on the different ways Christians are facing persecution around the world.

In Syria,

In southern Nigeria, the Bishop of Nsukka, Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, urged Catholics to resist seeking revenge after armed men shot and killed some 40 people in their diocese. While Bishop Onah found it disturbing that “the only houses they attacked were Christian religious houses,” he urged them not to seek reprisal attacks.

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“Those of you that go to church knows that Jesus said you should forgive your offenders. Revenge will not take you anywhere; it will only complicate the situation more,” he said.

While on a trip to Washington with Aid to the Church in Need, D.C. to alert U.S. officials and organizations about the plight of Christians in his country, Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto in northern Nigeria told CNA that Christians are essentially used as “target practice” in his region.

“Christians suffer disproportionate violence from Muslim extremists for reasons that very often have nothing to do with the Christian community,” Bishop Kukah said.

He described how both Christians, and even moderate Muslims, are targeted by bombings and kidnappings, and as a result live in a constant state of uncertainty.

Meanwhile, Sr. Maria De Guadalupe, a missionary serving in Syria with the Institute of the Incarnate Word, spoke in New York this week about the challenges facing Christians trying to live out their faith amid the ongoing civil war.

She described how the Christian community now expects attacks of some sort during important liturgical feasts such as Christmas and Easter. Their churches, monasteries and shelters have been destroyed and many Christians have been “kidnapped, tortured, martyred, beheaded, cut in pieces.”

In Yemen, kidnapped Salesian priest Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil remains missing after the April attack on  a Missionaries of Charity home that left 16 people, including four Missionary of Charity sisters dead. Bishop Paul Hinder, OFM Cap, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia remains hopeful that he’ll be returned and urged people to continue praying for the priest.

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CNA’s Elise Harris recently returned from a trip to Iraq where she followed Cardinal Timothy Dolan during his goodwill visit to several refugee camps throughout the country last month. She described the living conditions of those who had to flee for their lives after ISIS invaded in 2014. While they still have their lives and their faith, they have little else to call their own. Many urged Cardinal Dolan to return to New York with their stories and ask for help in stopping ISIS.

At the end of April, the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome was even bathed in blood-red light to remind people about the plight of Christians worldwide.

These stories serve as sobering reminders that while most of us Christians live in relative peace and freedom, many of our brothers and sisters around the globe are suffering for the faith. We want to know: how often do you pray for the persecuted Christians? Take our poll below.

This week, CNA published several stories about Christian persecution currently happening around the globe. Althoug… in Catholic News Agency Polls on LockerDome