The cathedral was also one of six churches bombed in August 2004 when five car bombs in Baghdad and one in Mosul were detonated in cars parked outside churches, killing a total of 12 people and injuring more than 70.
Pope Francis will visit the cathedral and give a speech to local bishops, priests, religious, and other Iraqi Catholics.
A mural of the pope with Vatican and Iraqi flags has been painted on a wall outside of the cathedral in anticipation of the pope's visit, according to photos posted on social media.
Saturday, March 6: Najaf and the Plain of Ur
Meeting with Shiite Cleric in Najaf
On his second day in Iraq, Pope Francis will travel on Iraqi Airways to Najaf to meet with Ali al-Sistani, an influential leader of Shiite Muslims in Iraq.
Najaf is considered one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Shiite Islam, after only Mecca and Medina. It is the burial place of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of Muhammad and the first Shiite imam. The question of Ali's right to the caliphate resulted in the major schism between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
Not far from Najaf is the tomb of the prophet Ezekiel in Al Kifl, where the historic Jewish synagogue at the site is now contained within a newly built Shiite mosque.
Interreligious Meeting in the Plain of Ur
Pope Francis will then travel to the plain of Ur in southern Iraq, which the Bible records as the birthplace of Abraham. The archaeological site at Ur, excavated in the 20th century, includes a Mesopotamian ziggurat and ancient complex of houses.
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The pope plans to give a speech at an interreligious gathering in Ur because of the importance of Abraham for all three major monotheistic religions. In Judaism, Abraham is revered as the first patriarch of the Jewish people. Muslims believe that Muhammad is a descendent of Abraham's son Ishmael.
Chaldean Cathedral of St. Joseph in Baghdad
Pope Francis will end the day with Mass at the Chaldean Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph, upon his return to Baghdad. The cathedral, called Mar Yousef, was built in the 1950s. It was recently restored by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphaël Sako.
The Chaldeans are one of several Eastern Catholic communities found in Iraq. Tracing back their history to the early Christians through their connection with the Church of the East, Chaldeans made up two-thirds of Iraqi Christians before the population was diminished by Islamic State violence. Other Eastern Rite communities in Iraq include Syriac Catholics, Armenian Catholics, and Melkite Greek Catholics.
Sunday, March 7: Mosul and the Nineveh Plains
Memorial in Mosul