“The Pope wanted to be there with the people of Iraq in person,” envoy Filoni

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“The Pope wanted to be there with the people of Iraq in person,” envoy Filoni

By Domenico Agasso jr

“The Holy Father would probably have liked to be there with those poor people,” Cardinal Fernando Filoni told the Vatican Television Center. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples met Francis in St. Martha’s House at 6:00pm on Sunday,August 10, ahead of his departure which could be today, but there have been some logistical hick-ups. Cardinal Filoni is being sent to Iraq as a papal envoy to express the Church’s solidarity to the people.

The Pope received the cardinal “as a demonstration of his closeness to the populations and especially the Christians affected by the current conflict, who are desperate for support and encouragement,” the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said. The cardinal “informed the Pope about the preparations for his mission and his imminent departure.”

During the meeting with his envoy, Francis wished to emphasise his feelings regarding the tragic events that are taking place, feelings he has expressed publicly on more than one occasion in recent days. He also gave [Filoni] some instructions for the mission, plus a sum of money to be used to pay for emergency aid to those worst affected, as a sign of the Pope’s concrete solidarity and his contribution to the efforts of institutions and people of goodwill to respond to this dramatic situation,” Fr. Lombardi said.

Cardinal Filoni, who was Nuncio to Iraq when the second Gulf War broke out, stated: Pope Francis “has entrusted me with this task, so that I can send them his affection and deep love and to show that he is by the side of today’s poor.”The papal envoy’s mission in Iraq is a mission of “encouragement, trust, spiritual, moral and psychological support” to persecuted Christians.

Cardinal Filoni will try to raise awareness among the institutions, in order to guarantee peaceful coexistence with minorities in Iraq: “It would be such a pity if we lost this asset,” as it is part of Iraq’s heritage, he said.

The papal envoy recalled that the “incredibly difficult situation in Iraq affects so many people: “There are one million displaced people who are looking for a safe place for the present and the future,” the cardinal told CTV. “Our perception is that after all the hardships they have been through, these Christians may not think of this country as their own,” the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples added.

“I am certain that the authorities will do everything they can to put these Christians at ease, make them feel safe and give them hope for the future”; but “they also need to know that the universal Church is with them, that it will not abandon them and that it considers their presence in this land crucial”; it is paramount “that they remain confident in themselves and in their relations with others” and the Pope “is aware of this.”

Finally, Cardinal Filoni summed up the purpose of the mission Pope Francis is sending him on: “To raise awareness among authorities, urging them to protect the wellbeing our communities and at the same time to look into what can be done to offer them concrete help in the current situation and in the near future;” it will also be a chance to thank all of them – authorities and ecclesiastical and other organizations – for everything they are doing for these people.”

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 17:44
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