Churches and congregations across the Diocese of East Anglia turned red on November 22 to highlight the importance of religious freedom and the persecution of Christians. Organised nationally by Aid to the Church in Need, the day was dubbed Red Wednesday.
In Norwich, the Cathedral of St John the Baptist was lit up with red spotlights and Bishop Alan preached at a special Mass for persecuted Christians.
He said: “The Church was born from persecution – of Jesus on the cross – and thousands of Christians were martyred under the Romans. But it had the opposite effect to that which the emperors had hoped for and the church continued to spread and grow as the witness and courage of the Christians impressed all those who saw it.
“Persecution of Christians across the world has risen in the past four years and over 90,000 were murdered in 2016 and half a billion are unable to express their faith freely and openly in today’s world.
“Red Wednesday reminds us that we should make a firm resolve to support our brothers and sisters – the blood of the martyrs is the life-giving seed of the Church.”
A Red Wednesday’s Mass was also held at St Mark’s RC Church in Ipswich (pictured right), led by Parish Priest Fr Christopher Smith. Members of the congregation also turned out in red clothes to express their support.
The Catholic National Shrine at Walsingham also turned red for the day.
“Throughout the country churches and cathedrals were lit up in red as a mark of respect to modern day martyred Christians,” said East Anglia Area Secretary Tamsyn Filby.
For further information visit the Red Wednesday website.
A Christmas tree from Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Lowestoft, with more than 60 butterflies on it, was part of the annual inter-faith Christmas Tree Festival at Hungate Church in Beccles last weekend.
Mary Hunt, who made the butterflies, said: “Each year Hungate Church holds a Christmas Tree Festival and invites groups to decorate a Christmas tree. This year we chose the theme of the Virtues which are common to our faiths e.g. love, joy, peace, helpfulness, truth etc.
“I made more than 60 butterflies with the virtues on them to decorate the tree. Faith symbols and twinkling lights were added to make a sparkling display. It is good to be part of the local community.”
The November meeting of Norwich Circle of the Catenians was held on Friday November 24 in the cellar of the Louis Marquesi pub in Tombland, Norwich and the after-dinner speaker was the Rev Deacon Andrew Eburne who is chaplain to the Catholic students at the University of East Anglia.
Andrew delivered a wide-ranging, thought-provoking speech with a philosophical slant on the Catholic faith and the role of parents in advising their children on the path to follow in the religion aspect of their lives.
The speech was greeted by the 20-strong audience with a hearty round of applause led by Circle President John Kenny.
By coincidence Louis Marchesi, after whom the pub is named was a founder member of Norwich Circle which was inaugurated on May 21, 1925.
Pictured, left to right, Rev Andrew Eburne and John Kenny