The Lord's Prayer will be read in Aramaic at a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at Westminster Cathedral next week in support of Iraqi Christians.
At a time when many of Iraq’s Christians have been forced to flee the volatile situation in their homeland, the Mass at 5:30pm on June 16 will offer an opportunity for bishops and worshippers to come together and stand in solidarity with the country’s Christian community.
In addition to the Lord’s Prayer being read in Aramaic – the language closest to Christ’s dialect – the Gospel will be sung in Arabic. The Mass will also allow people to pray for peace in Iraq and also for Iraqi communities here in England and Wales.
According to The Universe, Bishop Crispian Hollis, Bishop of Portsmouth, will be preaching at the Mass and Bishop Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster with responsibility for Ethnic Chaplaincies, will concelebrate together with other bishops.
During the Mass, special prayers will be said for Archbishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul who was killed in March having been kidnapped after leading prayers at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul; for Margaret Hassan and the many others who have lost their lives in Iraq.
Last month Bishop Hollis and Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, visited Erbil, Kirkuk, and Sulemaniyah in northern Iraq, at the invitation of the Chaldean bishops and shared in the experiences of the people, priests and religious of the area.
The bishops also spent time at the Chaldean Seminary of St. Peter in Ainkawa, a Christian town near Erbil.
Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, who hosted the bishops, told The Universe, “Many people have left their homes, their property and their jobs and are losing their patience, so this visit was very helpful to encourage us to continue with courage and hope for a better future.”
Recently, the Catholic charity for suffering Christians, Aid to the Church in Need, spoke to Fr. Habib Jajou, who will play a part in the Mass as chaplain for the London-based Iraqi Chaldean Christian community.
He referred to the volatile situation in Iraq: “What we want to do is just let people know how serious the situation is for our communities in Iraq – not just Christians but other minorities.”