Westminster Cathedral hosts Mass in support of Iraqi Christians
posted on 16 June 2008
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has celebrated Mass in Westminster Cathedral (Monday 16 June, 2008) in support of Iraqi Christians and all those still suffering violence in the country.
Hundreds of Iraqi Christians attended the Mass to show solidarity and support for Iraqi communities both in the Middle East and here in the UK.
Bishop Crispian Hollis, chair of the International Affairs department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, delivered the Homily and prayed for the “gift of peace” for Iraqi communities. Bishop Hollis spoke of how his recent visit to northern Iraq had brought home the extent of the suffering in the country and how the ongoing violence had “seriously wounded” Iraq’s Christian communities.
Recent visit to Iraq by Bishops
Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth and Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham recently visited Erbil, Kirkuk, and Sulemaniyah in northern Iraq, at the invitation of the Chaldean bishops and shared in the experiences of the people, priests and religious of the area. The bishops also spent time at the Chaldean Seminary of St Peter in Ainkawa, a Christian town near Erbil.
Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, who hosted the bishops, said: “Many people have left their homes, their property and their jobs and they are losing their patience so this visit was very helpful to encourage us to continue with courage and hope for a better future.”
Recently, the Catholic charity for suffering Christians, Aid to the Church in Need, spoke to Fr Habib Jajou, who will play a part in the Mass as chaplain for the London-based Iraqi Chaldean Christian community. He referred to the volatile situation in Iraq: “What we want to do is just let people know how serious the situation is for our communities in Iraq – not just Christians but other minorities.”
During the Mass, the Gospel was sung in Arabic and the Our Father was said in Aramaic – the language closest to Christ’s dialect.