Sako: Jubilee of Mercy and Ramadan provide an opportunity for peace, reconciliation

Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Iraq Louis Raphael Sako

Sako: Jubilee of Mercy and Ramadan provide an opportunity for peace, reconciliation

By Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael Sako

Chaldean Patriarch Mar Raphael Louis Sako has led a prayer for peace in Iraq, Syria and the Middle East region this afternoon in Baghdad.

For the prelate the Jubilee Year of Mercy and Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, provide “an opportunity to correct perceptions,” as well as “choose the way that leads to peace, reconciliation” and “building mutual trust”.

In his message, which he sent to AsiaNews, His Beatitude called on religious leaders to join efforts to spread a "culture of tolerance", strengthen "the values ​​of belonging" to the nation, and “stay away from all forms of extremism”.

Held in Baghdad’s Queen of the Rosary Catholic Church, the interfaith ceremony marks the end of the Marian month. Christian, Shia, Sunni, Yazidi, and Sabean religious leaders attended the service as did some diplomats and many faithful from various religions. Government officials stayed away for security reasons.

The Chaldean patriarch, along with a Sunni and a Shia cleric led the prayer as a token of its interfaith nature. Hymns and psalms were followed by a universal prayer recited by Christians, Muslims, Yazidis and Sabeans together.

The two Muslim religious leaders spoke of the importance of reconciliation and peace "to strengthen coexistence." In Iraq, they added, "we need a change in mind-set." Patriarch Sako followed with his message. Each religious leader later lit a "candle of peace", and placed it at the foot of the statue of Our lady.

Following is the text of the patriarch’s message:

I would like to start with a very warm welcome to everyone who is praying with us this evening, where the essence of Virgin Mary diffuses the fragrance all over the Church. We are delighted to have you all here.

We look forward to having a heartfelt and sincere prayer for peace in our country and the region. A prayer on the example of the Virgin Mary who lived the grace and mercy of God deeply.

Celebrating the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary in these difficult circumstances is an invitation for every one of us to follow her example of faith, openness, love, service, pureness, patience, hope and confidence.

I would like also to highlight the importance of praying in the midst of such a critical situation and the suffering of our people in Iraq, Syria and the region. Since praying helps in:

Calming down the restless volcano of our inner struggles.

Changing the heart and mind of those who are living these daily events.

Granting us joy, humility as well as enabling us to assist and deal smoothly with others.

As you know, people who pray usually encounter and criticize themselves before encountering others. If we have this spirit of praying, “miracle may happen” we will enjoy then a real peace inside and around us

Since we are celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy, proclaimed by Pope Francis, and because Ramadan is around the corner, in which our fellow Muslims fast, pray, repent, and live “compassion and kindness” toward those who suffer. It is an opportunity to correct perceptions, relationships and choose the way that leads to peace, reconciliation and building of mutual trust.

As we are in charge of a humanitarian and religious responsibility at these tragic conditions, we are all called, in the presence of God, to move quickly and in high level of confidence to:

Unify efforts of spreading the culture of tolerance, love, peace and friendship.

Deepen the values of belonging to this multicultural nation.

Stay away from all forms of fatal extremism, especially that the heavenly laws of all religions plea to establish justice among people and deprive oppression and discrimination.

We have had enough of wars; the Iraqi people are tired of hearing about death, destruction, and displacement, on daily basis, all of which are against the divine will. God created human to live happily his life and yearn for peace, freedom, dignity and happy life.

To have a better future we have to change our mentality and the way we educate people”

May God Bless all the joint effort to save Iraq militarily and politically, economically and culturally”.

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 12:02
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