St Patrick’s turns the Emerald Isle Ruby Red
24th November 2017
A Saint of the Emerald Isle became a Study in Scarlet as St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Huddersfield was floodlit red in support of faith and freedom.
For one night only, the church was bathed in a crimson tide of light in solidarity with people throughout the world persecuted for their religion. St Patrick’s joined the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Cathedral and other public buildings across the UK lighting up on 22nd November as part of #Red Wednesday: a campaign to promote faith and tolerance in society, established by the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need.
For the second year running, #RedWednesday ‘shines a light’ on the problem of Christian persecution, as well as injustices perpetrated against other faith groups. Parish Priest, Canon Ian Smith, said:
‘According to Aid to the Church in Need, more Christians died for their faith in the twentieth century than in the other nineteen centuries of Christianity combined! Matters have grown worse still in the early years of this century and Christians are the most persecuted faith group in today's world. By bathing our church in red - the Christian colour of martyrdom - we will honour all Christians who suffer and die for their faithfulness to Christ's message of peace and love.’
Children from two of Huddersfield’s Catholic primary schools also added their support by wearing something red to school. Many of their families, especially those from Poland and the former Communist bloc remember times not so long ago when they too were punished and disadvantaged for holding true to their religious faith –and persecution still goes on in many countries across the world today.
Harry Rowan is Head Teacher at St Patrick’s School in Birkby and Our Lady of Lourdes School in Sheepridge. He said:
‘At this time of year the colour red adorns the main entrance to our two schools in remembrance of those who have died. The children are wearing red today in support of people of all faiths as a symbol of tolerance of one another’s beliefs. They’ve already visited other places of worship including local Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist temples –and we’re planning a visit to Birkby Mosque. In today’s ever changing society there is a great need to have dialogue with our neighbours!’
St Patrick’s Catholic Church has been a Huddersfield landmark since 1832, built to serve the town’s large population of Irish Catholics who had come to seek work building the canals and railway. A statue of Ireland’s Patron Saint stands outside the church, and on Wednesday night, even he was cloaked in crimson!