A call to prayer for persecuted believers throughout the world issued by New York City Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Hollywood producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett has sparked a wave of support in the Christian community.
Leaders from various parts of the world responded to this call which was made on Good Friday to combat the growing persecution of Christian men and women throughout the world. The official prayer request was made in an opinion piece published on CNN.com on Friday.
"This Holy Week we are calling upon Christians to also reflect upon the crucifixion, beheading, stoning, enforced slavery, sexual abuse, human trafficking, harassment, bombing and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Christians — and others — whose faith alone has made them a target of religious extremists," wrote Dolan, Burnett and Downey. "These communities need our love and support like never before, and they also need security and protection from the world like never before."
Now, more than 80 of America's well-known faith leaders are pledging their own support of the call and also pledging their faith-communities. Some of which include Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, Jack Graham, James MacDonald, Kevin Palau and many more.
The call is the latest in a series of initiatives to encourage faith-communities to show greater attention to the growing persecution occurring throughout the world. Some of which include the mass slaughter of believers.
Rev. Samuel Rodriquez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, issued a statement in support of the various initiatives helping to combat the persecution.
"When light stands next to darkness, light always wins," he said. "As individuals of faith suffer persecution, we stand convicted and convinced that terror and intolerance cannot, and will not, extinguish the light of grace, truth and love."
Dolan, Burnett and Downey explained the severity of the situation in the middle east in the opinion piece.
"Rarely since the first century has the church in the East faced persecution on this scale," they wrote. "Christian communities that took 2,000 years to build, and that were started by the apostles themselves, lie in ashes between the Tigris and the Euphrates. Survivors waste away as refugees, often in deplorable conditions, with no homes or churches to return to if the region eventually stabilizes."
Despite previous calls for help little has come to these suffering believers and the sentiments of the piece express that the faith could be on the brink of extinction in the region.