Catholic organizations launch initiatives to help persecuted Christians worldwide

Catholic organizations Knights of Columbus and Aid to the Church in Need met the first day of August 2017 with an announcement about their respective initiatives to help persecuted Christians in different parts of the world.

(REUTERS / Stringer)An Iraqi Christian woman fleeing the violence in Mosul sits inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean Church in Telkaif near Mosul, in the province of Nineveh, July 20, 2014.

During the Knights' annual convention held in St. Louis, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson revealed that their group will donate $2 million for persecuted Christians in Karamdes (Karemlash) in the Nineveh Plain. The group's initiative mimics Hungary's $2 million donation to Christian-majority town Teleskov, Crux detailed.

In a statement, the Knights pointed to the return of around 1,000 families to Teleskov as an example that such an initiative is effective. The organization will also follow Hungary's lead in working with the Archdiocese of Erbil in the project, which will start with the reconstruction of homes this week.

"The terrorists desecrated churches and graves and looted and destroyed homes," said Anderson. "Now we will ensure that hundreds of Christian families driven from their homes can return to these two locations and help to ensure a pluralistic future for Iraq."

In June, the Knights launched a nationwide television and digital ad campaign to raise awareness to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The project also aims to raise funds for the displaced believers, The Catholic Herald reported.

The television ad featured Chaldean Catholic priest Fr. Douglas Bazi, who was from the Kurdish region. He narrated his story of abduction and torture for nine days at the hands of the Islamist militants. At the end of the ad, the priest pleaded with viewers to help save his people.

Aid to the Church in Need, on the other hand, announced that it will give an emergency grant of $82,000 to the Diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria. The money will be used to help the victims of radical group Boko Haram.

Part of the grant will be used to conduct healing sessions and teaching livelihood skills to around 5,000 widows under Bishop Oliver Doeme's care. The rest of the money will pay for school fees and food for the 15,000 children orphaned as a result of Boko Haram's atrocities.