Pope to Egyptians: Let papal visit be sign of friendship, peace

People prayed at Mass April 25 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cairo ahead of Pope Francis’ April 28-29 visit to the country. The pope released a video message stating his hope that the visit is a sign of friendship and peace.

VATICAN CITY — Praying that God would protect Egypt from all evil, Pope Francis told the nation's people that a world torn apart by indiscriminate violence needs courageous builders of peace, dialogue and justice.

Egyptian priest praises Muslim support of threatened Christians

Displaced Egyptian Christian families, who used to live in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, sat near their belongings after arriving Feb. 24 at a church in Ismailia. Catholic churches in Ismailia, with help from Caritas, have helped Coptic Orthodox fleeing Islamic State attacks in North Sinai.

OXFORD, England — A spokesman for Egypt's Catholic Church praised local Muslims for helping embattled Christians after a series of Islamic State attacks in Sinai.

Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, said Christians must differentiate between ordinary Muslims and extremists.

"Ordinary Muslims are kind and try to help however they can — they're often first on the scene, rescuing the injured and taking them to hospitals," he said March 3, as Christians continued to flee Egypt's North Sinai region.

Martyrs in Libya 'whispered' name of Jesus before death, bishop says

VATICAN CITY -- The 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by Islamic State militants died as martyrs, invoking the name of Jesus, said an Egyptian Catholic bishop.

At the end of his weekly audience Feb. 18, Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith.

Canadian nun: Egyptian Muslims protected church buildings after threats

CAIRO -- Churches and other Christian properties around Egypt had already been looted, so when Catholics in Berba were tipped off that their southern village could be next, they acted fast.

They and other Christian leaders got on their phones and called their Muslim friends, neighbors and colleagues who all had the same message:

Statement of the Catholic Church in Egypt

With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country. We would like to express the following:

Christians targeted because extremists perceive they helped oust Morsi

St. Moussa Church was torched during a violent uprising earlier this month in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt. Christian leaders in Egypt say attacks on churches and Christian institutions in Egypt were committed by Islamist extremists who were angry over what they perceived as Christian support for the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.

CAIRO -- Attacks on Christian churches and institutions in Egypt appeared to be the result of Islamist extremists' anger over what they perceived as Christian support for the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.

In mid-August, three days after the military crackdown on Morsi supporters, Egypt's Catholic Church published a list of 58 destroyed or damaged Christian churches, as well as a commentary by the country's leading Jesuit criticizing the West's characterization of "poor persecuted Muslims."

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