Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians

Monday was All Saints Day. It is the special day set aside to honor the many Christians who are anonymous saints. Many of these saints were martyrs who suffered persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The gospel reading for All Saints Day always comes from Matthew’s Gospel and recounts how Jesus taught his disciples the Beatitudes. The last Beatitude says, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is warning those who will follow him to prepare themselves for suffering.

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. While in our country and most western countries, freedom of religion is a constitutional right. In parts of the world, religious persecution is prevalent. Pray today for the more than 260 million people suffering some form of intolerance because of their religion.

This week, I read an article from Crux Now, a Catholic news service, about widespread religious persecution worldwide. Persecution of Christians is the most pervasive of all religious oppression but, other minority faiths also endure hardships.

The Crux article included an interview with Mark Riedemann, Director of Public Affairs and Religious Freedom for the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need International. Riedemann stated that most religious persecution is driven not by differences of ideology but by economic interests. International criminal and jihadist groups use promises of wealth, power, and the ousting of corrupt authorities to exploit those suffering poverty and joblessness to fuel inter-communal tensions.

Aid to the Church in Need in a 2021 report divided countries where religious persecution is prevalent into three categories. The red category, with 26 countries, are those where instances of religious genocide are taking place. They include China, Myanmar, and 12 nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the territories populated by Moslems in the north meet Christian regions to the south. The 36 countries in the orange category are nations where religious freedom is neither enjoyed nor constitutionally protected. They include many of the Marxist nations. The “under observation” category includes countries where discrimination or persecution could if left unchecked, degrade into discrimination or persecution. Many of these are countries in South Asia like India where ethnic-religious nationalism is becoming prevalent.

This week the Vatican announced Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Pope Francis to visit India next year. Francis hoped to travel to India in 2017, but negotiations with Prime Minister Modi for a visit fell apart. Modi’s BJP party has strong ethnic-religious nationalist tendencies and receives blame for the interfaith tensions occurring with Christians and Moslems in India. Pope Francis hopes that his trip will help ease that strife. You might pray for the Pope’s travel plans as well as all those of every faith who suffer religious persecution.

Prayer for the Synod on Synodality

We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us, Make Yourself at home in our hearts;

Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.

November Book of the Dead

November is the month Catholics make efforts to pray for the repose of the souls of the faithful dead. The parish has compiled a Book of the Dead with the names of our deceased loved ones. It is at the front of the church near the baptismal font. Throughout the month, we will reverence the book with incense at the beginning of weekend Masses. Pray for the repose of the souls of all the faithful departed throughout November.

Available For All in Need

The Holy Redeemer Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society provides financial assistance with bills for food, housing, utility, insurance, repairs to homes and autos, etc., to our Chatham neighbors in need regardless of race, creed, or background. Their assistance in strict confidentiality. Our SVDP especially desires to aid any Holy Redeemer parishioners with financial needs. Contact the society using their Help Line (508)-267-7983 or, if you prefer, call Fr. Sullivan (508)-945-0677. Financial support for the society’s works can be forwarded to the Parish Office or placed in the Poor Box at the entrance to the church.

Scientific Evidence of God

The secular world often tries to contend there is a conflict between faith and science. They overlook the reality that many great scientists have been and are people of faith. The Catholic Schools Alliance of the Diocese of Fall River is sponsoring a talk by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, on There is Scientific Evidence of God’s Existence. The lecture will be at the Bishop Connolly High School Auditorium, 373 Elsbree Street, Fall River, MA, on Thursday, November 18, 2021, from 7–8:30 p.m. There is no admission charge. The topic is interesting to students in grades 6-12, college students, parents, grandparents, and educators.

Fr. Spitzer is a renowned Jesuit philosopher of ontology and science. He has made numerous television appearances on programs such as Larry King Live, The Today Show, The History Channel’s “God and the Universe, PBS “Closer to the Truth,” and his own EWTN series “Father Spitzer’s Universe.” To reserve a seat, RSVP to or call (508) 687-7301.

Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Is a significant wedding anniversary in your future? Plans are being made for the annual Fall River Diocesan Mass of Thanksgiving for couples observing significant wedding anniversaries (including the first year) during 2022. On Sunday, February 13, 2022, the celebration Mass will be at 3:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. If you would like an invitation, please contact the Parish Office. The couple’s names must be submitted before Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Priests Support Ministry

The Diocese of Fall River Office of Clergy Support is establishing a lay support ministry for diocese priests. The Vianney Group of Priestly Support, named for St. John Vianney, patron saint of priests, offers support for diocese priests. Participants will join together in fasting and prayer every third Thursday of the month. Thursday, November 18, will be the next date. Matt Robinson, Director of Clergy Support, invites participants to recite a virtual Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 p.m. That day they are encouraged to fast by limiting themselves to one main meal and two smaller ones. Participants can also sacrifice by fasting from some other activity they enjoy. More information is available at the website