NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Noting that 2017 may be "the decisive year in determining whether many Christian communities throughout the Middle East will continue to exist," Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson has asked Catholics and others to join the Knights in praying a novena for those who are being persecuted and killed for their faith.
The Novena of Grace and Solidarity will be prayed for nine straight days during Lent, from March 12 to 20. The Knights will also be announcing new donations to aid programs in the Middle East and expanding its efforts to make the plight of persecuted religious minorities in the region better known.
"This year we will continue to provide practical help along with our public advocacy on their behalf," said Anderson. "This will include aid with food, clothing, shelter and medical care for the hundreds of thousands in places like Iraq and Syria, and also speaking on behalf of those who are seeking to migrate to safer lands."
The Knights spearheaded a campaign last year that led the U.S. State Department to declare ISIS was committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities. As part of the effort, the Knights prepared a nearly 300-page report on the extensive crimes being carried out by ISIS and other extremist groups.
The historic March 17, 2016, declaration was only the second instance in which the U.S. government described an ongoing situation as genocide. It was preceded on March 14 by the House of Representatives' unanimous resolution that ISIS was committing genocide against religious minorities, including Christians in Iraq and Syria.
The K of C was founded in 1882 by Venerable Father Michael McGivney, a parish priest, in New Haven, Connecticut. The Knights, which has grown to include 1.9 million members worldwide, set a new all-time record for charitable donations in 2015 with more than $175 million in donations and more than 73.5 million hours of service valued at $1.7 billion.
The Novena of Grace and Solidarity, which can also be prayed throughout the year, is available at kofc.org.
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SOURCE Knights of Columbus