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Pope Francis: pray for persecuted Christians this month

Displaced familes flee violence in Iraq (CNS)

Pope Francis has called on Catholics to remember persecuted Christians who suffer around the globe in a video message outlining his prayer intentions for March.

Pope Francis asks viewers: “How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones?”

The video then shows three Christians standing in a police line-up holding signs reading; “Orthodox”, “Catholic” and “Protestant’.

Pope Francis goes on to say that persecutors see no difference between Christians of different denominations and implored the faithful to remember persecuted Christians of all backgrounds in prayer and material help.

The video has been released just days after an estimated 150 Christian families fled the city of el-Arish in Egypt after a spate of attacks by suspected Islamic militants.

According to the Christian charity Open Doors, approximately 215 million Christians experience high or extreme levels of persecution.

The charity also claims that North Korea is the worst country in the world in which to be a Christian. The totalitarian nation was followed by Somalia and Afghanistan.