Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need UK, witnessed Egypt’s flourishing faith. He said that “despite challenges, oppression and the ever-present threat of attacks, Egypt’s Christians have a vibrant faith”. He walked through the burnt out rubble of St George’s Coptic Catholic Cathedral, Luxor which a mysterious fire completely destroyed, yet, “despite the devastation, more than 1,000 people pack into the hall and dusty courtyard every Sunday to celebrate the ancient Coptic Liturgy”.
ACN’s national director said he also “visited a church which for 25 years has not been able to have a roof put on. Shots were fired when they last tried to roof the Coptic Catholic Church in Hezaga, near Luxor – yet nearly 300 people squeeze into the half-built church every Sunday.”
Aid to the Church in Need is helping to rebuild churches that have been destroyed by fire – as many churches were firebombed by extremists – as well as protecting churches from attack by supplying metal fences to guard against bomb blasts.
As priests minister to their flock in a difficult situation ACN is supporting them with Mass stipends.
“We are also supporting seminarians, many of whom I spoke to on my visit. In Egypt, the Christian faith is very much alive, despite the trials and tribulations they are facing” – wrote Neville Kyrke-Smith.
During his visit he met Bishop Emmanuel „in the torched shell of St George’s Coptic Catholic Cathedral” where he found him praying on his knees.
Bishop Emmanuel said: “We pray that out of the fire comes hope – and Resurrection Faith.”
The fire, which broke out on the night of 20th April 2016, is still a mystery. Without investigating, authorities blamed it on “an electrical fault”. But many in the Church suspect that it was not an accident.
Aid to the Church in Need, a Pontifical Catholic Foundation each year funds over 5,000 projects in more than 140 countries around the world, helping to support the Church in its mission, and bringing hope and solidarity to millions of people.
Full story here.