Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Jordan, First Communions for Iraq

During this morning's Mass in Amman, the Pope gave First Communion to several children, including 40 Iraqi refugees:
The SIR news agency reports that Msgr. Moussalli, who is in charge of welcoming Iraqi refugees in Amman, said Jordan children would be among the group as well. "Their desire is to pray with the Pope for reconciliation and peace in Iraq. It will be an important moment for us faithful not only in Jordan but also in Iraq."

"Everyone trusts in the words of comfort and support from the Holy Father," he continued. "Their desire is to see him in Iraq but I don’t know if or when this will be possible," the monsignor said.

"There is great hope among the Iraqi refugees in Jordan," he explained. "In addition, today a group of Christian and Muslim intellectuals from Iraq that live in Jordan have written a letter asking Benedict XVI to take note of the sufferings of the people and the Church in Iraq so that everything possible is done to stop the flow of Christians out of the country. The letter has been sent to the Nuncio," he said.
Two days into his weeklong trip, B16's mentioned Iraq twice in Jordan, both praising the kingdom's welcome for the refugees on his arrival Friday and, at yesterday's major address to Muslim leaders and diplomats, acknowledging the presence of the Baghdad-based Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, who Benedict made the first cardinal in the country's 3,000 year history at the 2007 consistory.

"The international community’s efforts to promote peace and reconciliation, together with those of the local leaders, must continue in order to bear fruit in the lives of Iraqis," the Pope said.

"And once again, I urge diplomats and the international community they represent together with local political and religious leaders to do everything possible to ensure the ancient Christian community of that noble land its fundamental right to peaceful coexistence with their fellow citizens."

According to reports from the ground, this Easter was the first one celebrated in "relative calm" in Iraq since before the 2002 invasion.

PHOTO: Reuters