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posted Aug 15, 2014, 1:08 PM by Church Office   [ updated Aug 15, 2014, 1:08 PM ]

The displacement of people around the globe because of their religious beliefs in 2013 rose to levels unseen in years, the State Department reported. Millions of Christians, Muslim and Hindus as well as people of other faiths were displaced by violence or threats because of their religious practice or for not holding any religious believe, said the 2013 International Religious Freedom Report, released July 28th, 2014. It cited the civil war in Syria and sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic for displacing millions of people. Throughout the Middle East the presence of Christians is "becoming a shadow of its former self."

Due to the worsening crisis for Catholics under persecution in Iraq, Bishop Bartchak and Pope Francis have requested prayers for those under siege. The suggested prayer is as follows: "For Christians who are in grave danger and being harshly persecuted in Egypt, Syria, and especially Iraq. May they receive strength, patience, courage, and hope as they give witness to their faith. May they be free from the immediate danger of death, and may human dignity and the right to religious freedom be respected for all people everywhere.”