Like you I have been watching the unfolding of events in Egypt with sadness and anxiety. The Coptic Church has been under heavy attack to the point that His Holiness, Pope Tawadros II has had to take shelter in a heavily guarded monastery. In a wave of violence over 600 people have been killed and thousands injured. Along with Coptic Christians, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians have been killed and their churches, homes and shops destroyed.
According to AsianNews, the Muslim Brotherhood is responsible for the looting and torching of at least 58 Christian churches, schools, institutions, homes and shops. The Catholic Church in Egypt has publicized the following statistics:
- 1. Franciscan church and school (road 23) – burned (Suez)
- 2. Monastery of the Holy Shepherd and hospital – burned (Suez)
- 3. Church of the Good Shepherd, Monastery of the Good Shepherd – burned in molotov attack (Asuit)
- 4. Coptic Catholic Church of St. George – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Church of the Jesuits – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Fatima Basilica – attacked – Heliopolis
- 7. Coptic Catholic Church of St. Mark – burned (Minya – Upper Egypt)
- 8. Franciscan convent (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) – burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Church of St. Teresa – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 10. Franciscan Church and School – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 11. Convent of St Joseph and school – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 12. Coptic Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart – torched (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 13 Convent of the Sisters of Saint Mary – attacked (Cairo)
Catholic World News reports on August 18 that in suburban Cairo, Franciscan nuns were marched through the streets by a mob like prisoners of war. Their school was looted and then burned to the ground. The news is terrible!
Recently, I wrote a letter to His Grace Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles assuring him of my prayers and support and the prayers of all Catholics in the Diocese of Orange. Since coming to the Diocese I have met on several occasions with the Coptic priests in our county. They are good co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard and they support and love us, their Catholic brothers and sisters.
Let us keep Egypt and all her people in our prayers! This is the land that welcomed the Holy Family as they fled in fear from Herod the tyrant. May Jesus, Mary and Joseph bless with peace and protection those who suffer for the faith. May dialogue and noble hearts win the day!
+Bishop Kevin Vann