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Husband’s testimony leads to Pope’s March prayer intention



This handout photograph taken on December 5, 2021 and released by Vatican Media shows Pope Francis (2R) meeting refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos.

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 02/29/24

"A person who knows told me there are more martyrs today than at the beginning of Christianity," Pope Francis explains.

Throughout the entire history of the Catholic Church, many believers have been persecuted and killed for their faith. This month, the Pope requests prayers particularly for them.

The Holy Father’s March prayer intention, illustrated by The Pope Video, has been released through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

In the video message, made this month with the support Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Pope Francis recalls the witness and pain of a husband he met on the Greek island of Lesbos:

“They approached my wife with a crucifix and told her to throw it on the ground. She didn’t do it, and they slit her throat in front of me.”

She left an “example of love” for Christ, and fidelity “until death.”

In the video, her story alternates with other images of Christian communities and cites examples of courage, such as that of the first Servant of God from Pakistan – Akash Bashir – who died in 2015 when he was almost 20 years old to prevent a terrorist attack on a church in Lahore.

The martyrs, heroes of all times

There are many hidden martyrs, heroes of our world today, who lead ordinary lives with integrity, and who courageously accept the grace of being witnesses to the end, even unto death itself.

“Brothers, sisters, there will always be martyrs among us. This is a sign that we’re on the right path.”

“A person who knows told me there are more martyrs today than at the beginning of Christianity,” Pope Francis adds, emphasizing how the issue of persecuted Christians and those who give their life for the faith is highly relevant today.


In 2023 alone, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) received reports in 40 countries of people who were assassinated or kidnapped because of the faith. Nigeria has become the country with the highest number of assassinations.

The Pope Video is possible thanks to the generous contributions of many people. You can donate by following this link.

MartyrsPersecution of ChristiansPope FrancisPope Video
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