The Lord continues to provide for his faithful in the midst of adversity, through the generosity of his disciples.
“Two years after being forced out of their homes, Christians taking refuge in the Erbil in northern Iraqi have a new church….
The new church was funded with the offerings of the faithful, according to Independent Catholic News. Besides providing a spiritual home for the refugees it will also be a center for their pastoral care, the report said.”
This is late notice, but the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, His Excellency Bashar Matti Warda, is in the United States and was to have been interviewed today. The interview should air on EWTN (check your cable listings for the channel) at 8 p.m. Eastern.
UPDATE: the video is now available:
In the last week and a half there has been more coverage on mainline American TV about the plight of Iraqi Christians and persecution of religious minorities in Iraq. About one and a half years ago, the German TV Deutsche Welle produced a program (in English) concerning the persecution of Iraqi Christians. Although the Iraqis have been under intense persecution for many years now this points out that in no way does it diminish their sense of mission to advance the cause of the Gospel through education that can be the hope of reconciliation. The church is very resilient.
Please watch this short documentary from Deutsche Welle (in English), shot last year in Northern Iraq.
You will see Christians who have not lost a sense of hope, who are trying to survive, and who are persisting in trying to make the world around them better, too. (Note, horrific images from about minute 9:00-9:45, but only there).
Also highly recommended, an interview here with Archbishop Warda, who serves the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil in northern Iraq.
“What are three things you would like American Catholics to know about Catholics in Iraq?
First, that Christianity has had a presence in Iraq for 2,000 years. It’s a very old community. It has not been converted from Islam. We were there before Islam. Our schools were always the best, even from the sixth and seventh centuries. Second, we’ve been through a very difficult time. We are grateful to the many people who have held out a hand of charity and solidarity with us, the various Catholic charities. However, we would like to leave this path of charity for the path of opportunity. Yes, we are a minority, but we have the capability to stay and build a good future for Iraq. Third, I would like to see more of a commitment by the media to raise the awareness of the issues in Iraq to build schools and hospitals. We are not benefitting from the wealth that Iraq has. We need to find ways to stay and build the community. When we leave Iraq, it’s a big loss. When I visited our communities in Detroit, the second and third generations are no longer speaking the language. Our whole culture is gone.”