“Aid to the Church in need” invites us to join on Wednesday 22nd November to light up our Churches and wear something red as we remember Christian martyrs and those who have died for their faith. On that day, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh will be a blaze of red and people are asked to wear something red (a sweater, a cardigan, a jacket, a scarf or a tie) as a symbolic reminder of all those Christians who have suffered and died for their Christian faith over the years.
As we remember the sacrifice of many wonderful martyrs and all who have died for their faith, Archbishop Eamon Martin will lead a special Prayer Vigil in St Patrick’s Cathedral at 8.30pm on the eve of Red Wednesday. As part of the Vigil, people will have an opportunity to venerate and be blessed by special Relics of St Dympna and St Oliver Plunkett, both of whom died for their faith.
St Dympna was born in Ireland in the 7th century and she consecrated her life to God. She was martyred by her father at 15 years of age and many great miracles have been attributed to her. She is known as the Lily of Eire and many people who suffer from epilepsy and mental illness have great devotion to her. She’s the patron saint of the nervous, the emotionally disturbed, the mentally ill and those who suffer from neurological disorders. She’s also the patron saint of psychologists, psychiatrists and neurologists.
St Oliver Plunkett was a former Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. He maintained his duties in Ireland in the face of English persecution and was eventually arrested and tried for treason in London. He was hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London in 1681 and he became the last Roman Catholic martyr to die in England. He was the first new Irish Saint for almost 700 years. Many people have great devotion to the saint and a special Shrine is dedicated to him at St Peter’s Church, Drogheda.
As well as the special Prayer Vigil, special Masses will be offered in the Cathedral at 8am and 10am on Wednesday 22nd November for all who have died for their faith over the years.