.- In a moving message to Pope Benedict XVI, Christian youth in Baghdad said they were spiritually accompanying the World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne. The young people were unable to leave their war-torn country to attend the international youth gathering in Germany. Baghdad’s Christian youth, however, held their own parallel celebration in spiritual union with the Pope and the hundreds of thousands of young people in Cologne. More than 1,000 of them, including various Catholic rites and Orthodox Christians, gathered in the Roman Catholic cathedral of the city.
They Pope joyfully received a message from these young Christians through the apostolic nuncio of Iraq, Bishop Fernando Filoni.
“We, young Christians of Baghdad, after adequate preparation … also wanted to celebrate in prayer, reflection and joyous festivities, the current World Youth Day,” their message reads.
“We, too, have gathered to come to know the Lord and ask him what he desires of us in this difficult time for our country and for us,” it continues.
The young people said they remain inspired by Christ’s message to have courage and not be afraid. “While we would like to extend our greetings to the youth in Cologne, we also ask for your apostolic blessing,” they youth said. “We are spiritually accompanying the celebrations here.”