Dohuk, Iraq, Apr 10, 2016 / 14:52 pm
On his second full day in Iraq, Cardinal Timothy Dolan traveled three hours to Dohuk, the city where the majority of those who fled Mosul, including the members of the minority Yazidi population, escaped to when ISIS overran the city.
After the lengthy ride, Cardinal Dolan briefly visited a medical dispensary set up by CNEWA, where he greeted the staff and some refugees, most of whom come from Mosul.
He then traveled to the Inishke village in the upper region of Dohuk where he concelebrated Mass in the Chaldean rite in the presence of the local Christian community, a number of refugees, as well as representatives of the Yazidi and Muslim communities.
The principal celebrant for the Mass was Bishop Shlemom Wardoni, who is one of three auxiliary bishops serving under Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako. Members of other rites, including the Syriac-Catholic rite, were also present at the Mass, including a number of displaced priests.
Although Cardinal Dolan was not the main celebrant at Mass, he preached the homily, conveying the core message that he came to share with everyone: “We love you…You are not forgotten.”
He then wrapped up his day with a visit to the Dawodiya displacement camp near Dohuk, which consists of roughly 2,200 people. About 60 to 70 percent of the camp’s inhabitants are Yazidi, while the rest are mainly Christians.
Some Muslims are also present in the camp, as well as a few other small minority religions.
The Yazidi population is one of Iraq's smallest ethnic-religious minorities. Of Kurdish descent, their religion is considered to be a pre-Islamic sect branching from Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism.