Iraqi Christians thankful for Pope’s concern

.- The Vatican News Agency Fides reported last week Christians in Iraq have expressed their gratitude to Pope John Paul II for his words of comfort regarding the situation in their country.  “Iraqi Christians are grateful to the Pope for his words of encouragement which strengthen our faith and hope amidst so much hardship and suffering” Fr Nizar Semaan, a Catholic priest in Mosul told Fides after the Pope had a special message for Christians in Iraq at the end of his general audience on Wednesday, October 27.

According to Fr. Semaan, “Our history as Christians of Iraq is a story of hope, and we are sure that these dark times will end. Why are we sure? Because although Christians are leaving the country, they are not going for good. They do not sell their homes or businesses. They leave to escape the unbearable situation but they intend to come back and live in Iraq.”

He also recalled that, “For the Church in Iraq a major priority has always been to foster dialogue and peaceful co-existence. We believe and we are confident that peace will be restored”.

In his general audience, the Pope said, “Every day in prayer I accompany the beloved people of Iraq engaged in rebuilding their national institutions. At the same time I encourage Christians to continue with generosity to offer their fundamental contribution to promote reconciliation of hearts. Lastly I express deepest sympathy with the families of victims and hostages and all the innocent people stricken by the blind barbarity of terrorism”.

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