Since Protège ton église was launched, it has spread to cities across France. Activities are organized mainly through Facebook. The group is careful not to identify its members, asking vigil participants to publish photos with their backs to the camera. Leaders only identify themselves in public by their first names.
"With our goal being to denounce the extent of Christianophobia in France, we could be victims of reprisals. As a security measure, we ensure this anonymity," the group noted.
Asked what advice Protège ton église would give to Catholics seeking to found similar groups in other countries, the spokesperson said: "First of all, national leaders must be chosen who can stay for a certain number of years in order to have a solid foundation in the project."
"The rapid launch of the initiative on a network is very beneficial, as it allows you to reach a lot of people and to disseminate information quickly and effectively."
"Then you have to find section leaders, who can change regularly depending on the location of the young people, in order to establish a national network."
The spokesperson emphasized that participants needed to show "great caution" during vigils, for example, by carrying cell phones in case they needed to contact the police.
New groups should define the scope of their work carefully, the spokesperson suggested, so that the movement does not run out of steam.
In the coming months, members of Protège ton église will work alongside the organization S.O.S. Calvaires. This group, initially active in north-west France, is seeking to expand its work of safeguarding calvaries, oratories and chapels throughout the country.
"We recently broadcast a video of their actions," said the spokesperson. "It is by seeing their work, and the goals we had in mind for the future of Protège ton église, that we launched the idea of this mutually beneficial partnership."
"This will not prevent us from continuing the evening church vigils and covering Christianophobic misdeeds on our [Facebook] page."