We read in history books about the persecutions of Christians in the early centuries. But we would be mistaken to think that such persecution only existed in the past. Just last week a seminarian in Nigeria lost his life when kidnappers attempted to kidnap the pastor of his parish. Failing to gain access to the rectory, the assailants set fire to the pastor’s car, which in turn set the rectory on fire. The pastor and associate priest escaped, but the seminarian died of asphyxiation.
Witnesses described how the local military checkpoint did nothing to intervene. Bishop Julius Kundi of Kafanchan responded by saying “Let us prove to our enemies with all their arsenals that they have failed again.” Kidnapping and other acts of violence against Christians have become common, particularly in the north of the country.
While not nearly as tragic as the loss of life, acts of vandalism occur regularly here in the states. Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, several churches were vandalized. Just last month sacred objects were desecrated in a church in Michigan.
These acts of violence demonstrate that prayers for peace and protection are an ever-present need. As we pray after the Our Father: “deliver us Lord from every evil, graciously grant us peace.” These prayers are as needed today as they were in the early centuries.