The 150-year-old Church of the Good Shepherd in Suez was among those torched by extremists in August 2013 when violence against the country’s Christians reached its peak.
The church was among around 80 churches and Church-run institutions attacked by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The arson attack came on 14th August, the eve of the feast of the Assumption, and young members of the parish pitched in to put out the flames. Having succeeded in extinguishing the fire, they went to fight another blaze at a nearby church. But just a few hours later the Muslim Brotherhood returned to set fire to the convent.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd were almost trapped by the blaze. But one Sister had a key to the small door leading from their garden to the street, and they escaped that way.
Even this was not the end of the destruction, and two days later members of the Muslim Brotherhood came back again, this time torching an orphanage connected to the church.
When Coptic Catholic Bishop Makarios Tewfik turned to Aid to the Church in Need, desperately asking us to help rebuild and restore their ruined church and its offices, we could not refuse to help.
Among its activities, the church provides catechesis and youth ministry – not to mention running a clinic and school. It’s an important hub for local Catholics.
Our brothers and sisters in Egypt courageously continue to witness to Christ by their quiet presence in the country, despite the hatred and violence they have experienced.
After three years’ work all the building was finally finished – and in January 2017, there was a celebration to mark the church being reopened.
Bishop Makarios Tewfik expressed his gratitude to ACN’s benefactors whose generosity has allowed the Church of the Good Shepherd to be restored. He said: “Thank you! May the Lord reward you for all your love.”