On April 29, the Trevi Fountain, one of the most popular and emblematic tourist spots in Rome, will be dyed red in recognition of all Christians who even today give their life for the faith.
The event is being organized by Aid to the Church in Need and seeks to “call attention to the drama of anti-Christian persecution.”
In a statement posted on their website, the aid group said they hope this initiative will be “the start of a long lasting, concrete reaction everywhere so that the persecuted people of the 21st century can as soon as possible return to fully enjoying their natural right to religious freedom.”
The organizers added that “the systematic violation of the right to religious freedom, especially that of Christians, must become the central issue of the public debate.”
Speaking at the event will be the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, Syria, Antoine Audo, and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the International President of Aid the Church in Need.
Iraq and Syria are two of the countries where there is a severe persecution of Christians, with the Islamic State killing, enslaving and driving people out of their homes. Christians in Nigeria are also at risk from attacks by the militant group Boko Haram, while Christianity is illegal in countries including North Korea and Somalia.
As of now, various associations have joined the initiative including Communion and Liberation, Caritas Italy, the Christian Workers Movement, the Focolare Movement and pro-life organizations.
Pope Francis has spoken frequently during his papacy on modern-day martyrs. On April 7, the Pope called martyrs “the lifeblood of the Church.”
“It is the witness of our martyrs of today – so many! – chased out of their homeland, driven away, having their throats cut, persecuted: they have the courage to confess Jesus even to the point of death,” he said.