Caritas Iraq staff visiting a survivor of the terrorist attack at Cathedral of St. Joseph in Baghdad Sunday 31 October. 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security personnel were killed. Credit Caritas
By Nabil Nissan, Executive Director, Caritas Iraq
The Christians used to be the original people in this country, they have been here for the last 2000 years, but now they are considered as one of the minorities. Through many ages they embodied the message and mission of Jesus Christ in peace and harmonious living with other many sects in Iraq.
The Christians faced many waves of violence in Iraq throughout many eras and ages but not as brutal and violent as this one. Of course this doesn’t mean that other groups are not facing the same destiny as the Christians as well, whether Shiites or Kurds, but what we are talking about here is the issue of existence. If Iraq keeps on bleeding the Christian existence it will soon be devoid of the one its characteristics identities which symbolize the country. Continue reading
Funerals were held today at the Cathedral of St. Joseph (Khirbanda) in Baghdad for the victims of a terrorist attack on Sunday 31 October at the Church of Our Lady of Salvation.
An armed group broke into the Church of Saydat Al-Najat (Lady of Salvation) in the Iraqi capital’s Al-Karrada area during Mass. The congregation was held hostage for 6 hours, with some being released after a Iraqi-American rescue operation.
Three priests Fr Thaer Saadallah Abdal and Fr Wasim Sabih and Fr Raphael Qutaimi were killed along with 58 other people including Caritas Iraq volunteer Saad Adwar. One Caritas Iraq staff member and her child were injured in the attack.
Caritas Iraq staff have been visiting some of the seriously wounded people in hospital, and offering consolation to families of the victims.
Caritas Iraq requested prayers for the victims and their families and for peace in Iraq. Caritas will continue with its community peacebuilding efforts.
The period running up to parliamentary elections in Iraq in March will be critical for the long term security of a country beset by violence.
Caritas fears that extremists will use the elections to carry out acts of violence and that the poor will suffer the most.
Mosul, Kirkuk, and Dora in Baghdad will be hot spots according to Caritas, which is carrying out assessments of vulnerable communities in those areas to be able to plan for displacements of people and urgent needs of those caught in conflicts.
Iraq Catholic Hierarchy
Last November, the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Church (ROACO) held a meeting in Erbil, Northern Iraq, bringing together Iraqi bishops, the Nuncio, Iraqi church partners, and the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Oeuvre d’Orient, MISSIO, Misereor, Aid to the Church in Need, I.C.O. (Austria), D.K.A. Austria (Kath. Jungschau Osterreichs), Archbishopric of Cologne, and Caritas Germany, Caritas Iraq and Caritas Middle East and North Africa (MONA).
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your
By Caritas Iraq staff
Over two dozen children died in Iraq’s latest bombing. They were on a bus coming home from a day care centre. They could have been part of Iraq’s future – growing up, getting a job, having their own children; but they just became another number and a fraction of the 155 people killed and the hundreds injured when extremists bombed one of the safest zones in Baghdad last weekend.
Children are Iraq’s valuable resource. More precious than oil. It is the children who will grow up and lay the groundwork for a safe and democratic society. Continue reading
By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis migration advocacy officer
It was impressive to see what motivation, persistence even under the most difficult circumstances and solidarity among Caritas organizations can achieve!
During the meeting of the Iraq Working group of Caritas Internationalis (18-19 February 2009 in Beirut), I was plunged into the reality of a maltreated people. Years of isolation, violence, war, displacement and sectarian division. Yet, the belief in a just society, the wish for change, credibility through action and humility made the difference to Caritas Iraq. The two colleagues of Caritas Iraq, Khawla Elia Jajo and Nabil Nissan, were great ambassadors to this spirit!
There is nothing unusual about a Christmas fair in a Church in December. Only this time, there is. It’s in Baghdad. A city in a country both torn apart by sectarian violence.
But this year Caritas Iraq’s volunteers organized such a bazaar. A sign of peace in a troubled land.
The Caritas Charity Market ran from the 5 to 7 December at the Church of St Georgis in Baghdad. The market was aimed at bringing different communities together and to raise money to help families made homeless during the conflict.
Volunteers ran the event, which provided food and clothes to the poor. Entertainment was laid on and children received gifts. The party was inaugurated by bishops and priests and people from Iraq’s different parties.
Everyone felt it was a great success. A bit of normalcy has returned to Iraq.