The panel discussion took place Tuesday at Tauron Arena Kraków, the site for English-speaking pilgrims to World Youth Day. The arena has been dubbed "Mercy Center" for the week, and is being sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and a number of partners.
Pope Francis will visit the arena before he departs for Rome on Sunday.
Christians now suffering in the Middle East "will be so moved to learn of this tremendous support, and they will be encouraged in hope knowing that so many youth around the world care about them, and care that they continue to be allowed to practice their faith in the place where Jesus himself lived, in the place where his language is still spoken," said Archbishop Warda of Erbil, Iraq, immediately after the panel discussion.
In addition to Archbishop Warda, the panel included Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori, who has served as the chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; author and commentator George Weigel; and Vice President of the NGO Roads of Success, Jacqueline Isaac. An American of Egyptian descent, Isaac has spent more than a decade advocating for the rights of minorities and women across the Middle East, and recently testified before the U.K. Parliament and U.S. Congress.
The discussion had a particular poignancy as it was held in the wake of the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in France. Despite the pain that follows such an act, panelists called for a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, especially with those who are carrying out violence and intimidation against Christians.
"We are to be the carriers of [God's] light and his love," said Isaac. "And I promise you that it will radiate and break through the darkness."