Iraqi archbishop tells U.S. congregation of the 'blessing of persecution'

Iraqi archbishop tells U.S. congregation of the 'blessing of persecution'

Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil has spoken of the "blessing of persecution" during a memorial Mass in Washington for victims of the Islamic State in Iraq.

The Mass was celebrated on November 28 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. It formed part of the "Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christian" in the United States, the Catholic News Service reported.

Since Islamic State militant invaded northern Iraq in 2014, Archbishop Warda has cared for the majority of the Christians in the country, many of whom fled their homes and went to Erbil [a city in the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq].

During his homily, Archbishop Warda told the congregation that when people ask him if there are any blessings in being persecuted, he replies that the answer is "Yes".

"God shows his love and care by the solidarity being shown by people outside," said Archbishop Warda. "The will of God is helping his people, helping the needy, being near the poor and persecuted."

The blessing of persecution, the archbishop said, is "we learn how to give and how to receive with love."

He added that persecuted Christians in the Middle East had "suffered at the hands of ISIS because they love God with their whole mind, their whole soul, and their whole heart".

Since 2014, the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund has committed US$17 million to aid Christians and those in their care in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region.

This Christmas, the Knights will donate US$1 million in food assistance to Erbil as a sign of solidarity with the 15,000 Christian families.

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 13:17
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