According to World Watch List, as of 2018, there are 245 million Christians situated in places with high risks of persecution, 4,305 Christians killed for their faith, 1,847 Churches and other Christian buildings attacked and 3,150 Christian believers detained without due process. In remembrance of them, the Thomasian community wore red in solidarity with the Aid to the Church in Need – Philippines (ACN – Philippines) during the Red Wednesday Campaign: #WeRemember on November 27, 2019. ACN is a Pontifical Foundation devoted to the service of Christians around the world who were persecuted, oppressed or suffering from material need.
Red Wednesday was started in the year 2016 by ACN in the United Kingdom through lighting up in red, the color of martyrdom, some of their infamous monuments such as the Palace and Cathedral of Westminster. In 2017, the Philippines joined in this campaign and sought the solidarity of various parishes and Catholic schools and universities which includes the University of Santo Tomas.
Now on its third year, the commemoration of Red Wednesday in UST commenced with the opening of exhibit headed by SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office Director Prof. Arvin D. Eballo, Ed.D., at the lobby of Tan Yan Kee Student Center Building. It featured a glimpse of persecuted Christians from Mexico, Haiti, Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Philippines. This was immediately followed by fora held at the AMV College of Accountancy Multi-purpose Hall with around 380 students who attended the morning and afternoon sessions.
UST Vice Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo T. Tiong, O.P., urged everyone to be committed Christians albeit in the face of persecution. He also emphasized that wearing red signifies that we must continue to pray for peace and harmony. Bro. Reynaldo Barnido, one of the resource speakers and the Executive Director of Duyog Marawi pointed out that Christian persecution by extremists is not just caused by religion but also affected by the political-economic system.
The event concluded with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo,DD. In his homily, he stressed that we must pray for the persecuted as well as the persecutors. A candle-light ceremony at UST Carillon followed the mass.
This year’s initiative was spearheaded by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs, SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office, and Center for Campus Ministry.