The story of the Middle East in 2014 is one of war and displacement, broken families and tireless aid workers, and the rise of a new group one scholar referred to as “al-Qaida on steroids,” Catholic News Service reports.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has set a day of prayer for peace in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, Sept. 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, has also appealed for a “charity collection”, which must be remitted to the CBCP Secretariat by September 30, 2014 so the aid can be “immediately” transmitted to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Iraq and Syria.
Read Archbishop Villegas’ full statement dated September 5 and posted Sunday on the FaceBook account of Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila.
Pope Francis has sent former nuncio to the Philippines, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to Iraq to deliver a message of support and aid to Christians suffering amid sectarian violence there.
Cardinal Filoni served as nuncio to the Philippines from 1992 to 2001. He served much of this term from Hong Kong where he also participated in the Holy See’s “Study Mission” that reached out to China’s bishops, official and non-official Churches and bishops, reconciling the vast majority to the Holy See.
“My mission in Iraq is to give moral, spiritual and psychological support” he is shown saying in Italian in an interview with Rome Reports.
Archbishop Louis Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch, offers this prayer to help Catholics worldwide join their brothers and sisters in Christ in Iraq in daily prayer