November 18 | comments icon 1 COMMENT     print icon print


Christians must bear witness worldwide

Bishop Joseph Toal of Argyll and the Isles has said Christians in Scotland and around the world must stand up in the face of opposition and bear witness to their unchanging beliefs.

Bishop Toal said that Christians today were called to be ‘heroic’ and oppose trends in society contrary to the Church’s message.
The bishop (above with clergy) was speaking at the annual Scottish memorial Mass for Fr Werenfried van Straaten, founder of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which supports persecuted and other suffering Christians in 140 countries around the world.
During his homily, Bishop Toal paid tribute to the heroic witness of Christian martyrs.

“Christianity is also being challenged in the free world and sometimes today we have to stand up against some trends in society,” he said. “We have to be brave, we have to stand up and witness to the unchanging message of the Gospel.”
The bishop’s comments seem to reference to ongoing persecution against Christians overseas as well as the Scottish Catholic bishops’ opposition to Scottish Government to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’.

Bishop Toal was speaking last Wednesday at St Bride’s Church, Cambuslang, where for more than a decade parishioners have raised money for Aid to the Church in Need.
The bishop praised the work of ACN, which was founded on Christmas Day 1947 by Fr Werenfried who began by calling on the faithful in Belgium to support displaced and other suffering people from nearby Germany.
Bishop Toal said the founder of ACN’s had worked tirelessly to support persecuted Christians.

“Fr Werenfried was concerned most of all to protect the Catholic faith of those who had suffered loss of home or country and those deprived of religious freedom,” he said,  “That commitment to offering spiritual as well as material aid does make Aid to the Church in Need different from other agencies.”
Describing ACN’s project focus including the training of priests and construction of churches, he paid particular tribute to ACN’s support for priests who ‘carry out their priestly duties in difficult circumstances, perhaps involving a great deal of heroism and sacrifice on their part’.
Listening to the bishop were ACN supporters from across Scotland as well as students from St Ambrose High School, Coatbridge, and Cardinal Newman High School, Bellshill.
ACN UK director Neville Kyrke-Smith said it had been a wonderful event. “The Mass with Bishop Toal was a great celebration of faith,” he said. “There were a good number of very supportive priests and generous supporters of the charity who are unsung heroes of faith, helping to carry the cross of the suffering Church in many parts of the world.”
ACN head of operations in Scotland Lorraine McMahon said the event had attracted a diverse crowd.

“We had a good mixture of the generations present, young as well as old,” she said. “They were all encouraged by the bishop’s message to stand up and be counted for what we all believe.”
She also paid tribute to parishes supporting ACN including Fr Gerry Chromy and parishioners of St Patrick’s Church, Wishaw, which has supported seminarians in Grodno, Belarus.
Over the last decade and more, Fr Paul Morton and St Bride’s Church, Cambuslang, have supported Aid to the Church in Need projects in 10 countries including Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Sudan.
St Bride’s is now funding new roofs for chapels in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, and a new parish centre in Romania.


Comments - One Response

  1. Theophile says:

    Followers of Christ are called to be lights in a world that loves darkness, figure it out. The world will tolerate a light “under a bushel”, but the only answer for those that pierce the darkness is, snuff it out!
    We are called to witness the Word of God and testimony to the faith of Jesus. For a very long list of witnesses and the unshakable faith they testified of with their very lives, read Foxes book of Martyrs:

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