Thursday, 2 March 2017

Praying with the Pope: March Intentions

It's that time again! A new month, a new chance to add our prayers to those of Pope Francis as he gives us one special intention to really focus on this month.

This March, the Holy Father will be praying especially for evangelization: specifically for persecuted Christians, that they "may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church." (taken from the Living with Christ Sunday Missal)

I ponder from time to time, not often enough, though, just how lucky I am to live where I do. My great-grandparents chose to emigrate from many places (Croatia, Germany, Scotland, Ireland) to Ontario, Canada. They could have chosen anywhere -- the United States, other parts of the Commonwealth, or other parts of North America. But they didn't -- they all chose Canada. I am so thankful for this -- thankful that I live in a country where I can go to Mass every Sunday and holy day, and openly practice my faith without fear of persecution or danger. I can pass the faith on to my children without worrying about whether they'll face dangerous repercussions for believing in the name of Christ.

But it's not so for every Christian. Sadly, in many places of the world, Christians are persecuted, suppressed, and put in grave danger just for their beliefs. It's mind-boggling to think that this still happens, in the year 2017! But as dangerous extremist groups like ISIS use their terrorizing, bullying tactics to push forward their toxic agenda, or groups like Boko Haram victimize the most innocent people, Christian persecution flourishes and continues in many parts of our world.

This month, let's unite with Pope Francis in prayer for these brave Christian men, women and children who put their faith before all else. Could we do the same? Let's also be generous in our giving -- to the Church, to charities that will help these people -- and let's be thankful that we are able to live out our faith without ramifications.

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