THE first ever Solidarity Congress for Persecuted Christians opens Thursday, June 29 at the Lay Formation Center of the Diocese of Pangasinan.

The Congress, though planned before the Marawi siege happened, is considered timely given the ongoing conflict and acts of religious hyper-extremism in Muslim Mindanao.

Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña will be the keynote speaker of the congress where he is expected to share his personal experience of how Christians live as a minority among Muslims amid the well-funded campaign of religious hyper-extremists coming from the Middle East.

The event, organized by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Philippines, aims to make Filipino Catholics become more aware of the experience of persecuted and suffering Christians worldwide. ACN Philippines believes that awareness of the situation of persecuted Christians is necessary before Filipinos can begin to express their solidarity with their suffering fellow Christians.

Over 500 participants from the different parishes, religious organizations, and congregations of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan have confirmed their attendance to the event.

From Pangasinan, ACN Philippines is planning to hold the same Congress in Bicol, Cebu, Zamboanga and Manila in the coming months. (PR)