Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


9/3/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Priest receives moving telephone call from pontiff

After sending a letter to Pope Francis on the plight Iraqi refugees fleeing ISIS violence, Fr. Behnam Benoka received a phone call from the pontiff who gave his blessing and assured of his prayers.

To receive a call from the Pope, Fr. Benoka said, felt like 'when you're a kid and you have a problem or an emergency and your Mom and Dad are the first to come to mind because you know they'll defend and protect you.'

To receive a call from the Pope, Fr. Benoka said, felt like "when you're a kid and you have a problem or an emergency and your Mom and Dad are the first to come to mind because you know they'll defend and protect you."



Catholic Online (

9/3/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, Iraq, phone call, humility, Fr. Behnam Benoka

"'I read your letter,' said the Pope. He said he was very sorry for everything that was happening to us and he said, 'Know that I am with you in prayer always. I never forget you,'" Fr. Benoka told CNA Aug. 31.

Pope Francis told him, "I've personally sent Cardinal Filoni to check on the situation there for me. Tell everyone that Pope Francis called you. I never forget you and I'll never leave you," the priest added.

SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide --

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, visited Erbil as Pope Francis' personal envoy from Aug. 12-20.

Fr. Benoka is currently running a make-shift clinic in Ankawa, Iraq, near Erbil, which he formed following an influx of thousands of refugees who have fled the violence waged by the militant Islamic group ISIS in surrounding cities.

Erbil, where more than 70,000 Christians have fled from the Islamic State, is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and is within 50 miles of territory held by the Islamic State.

To receive a call from the Pope, he said, felt like "when you're a kid and you have a problem or an emergency and your Mom and Dad are the first to come to mind because you know they'll defend and protect you."

"It was like that, calling the person that could help us the most. I was able to get word through to him, and it felt like this, like a true father."

When he received the Aug. 19 call, which lasted 3 minutes, the priest explained that he was on his way to the bank to deposit donations that were received to help with the needs of the clinic.

"I was in a taxi heading to the bank to get the money. It was 50 degrees Celsius and there was no air conditioning at 11:10 in the morning nearing the height of the heat," he said, when he got a call from an unknown number.

"'Nam?' I said. That's the way we answer. There was a 'Pronto?' in Italian on the other end," Fr. Benoka explained, stating that the voice then said in Italian "'I am Fr. Francis.' 'Who is it? Who?' I asked. I couldn't hear very well. 'No! It's Pope Francis!'"

"I was in shock for a few seconds. I looked at the taxi driver to see if it was something like candid camera. It didn't look like it. Then, I thought it could be a friend playing a joke on me. But I had heard that voice before when I was in an audience with him. It was really the Pope. It was the same voice."


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

Pope Francis: Jesus is weeping over a WORLD AT WAR

Image of Pope Francis mourns a world at war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading

Oxford to begin study of Catholic relics. Here are 5 macabre relics people venerate from around the world Watch

Image of The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas.


The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading

Nine bishops, one abbot, dine and dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading

Woman turns her cancer over to Jesus Christ - survives, thrives Watch

Image of Heather King shares her struggles in her new memoir,

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading

Top 5 ways to find joy Watch

Image of Find happiness in spite of the darkness.


It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent Watch

Image of What millions of Christians do a day after expressing thanks for what they already have.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading

Cardinal Sarah releases new book, 'God or Nothing,' on civilization's fall from grace Watch

Image of Without God, the cardinal said,

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading

Holy Door in St. Peter's basilica to open for first time in 15 years for Holy Year of Mercy Watch

Image of The rite of the opening of the Holy Door is intended to symbolically illustrate the idea that the Church's faithful are offered an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading

5 powerful Bible verses you need when fear and terror strike Watch

Image of


Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading

Pope Francis: World War III has begun - Third Secret of Fatima gives warning Watch

Image of Is the Church preparing us for the end? Our Lady calls us to penance.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has invoked World War III, saying that it has begun in a piecemeal fashion. The Third Secret of Fatima could provide Christians a framework for considering this terrifying new development. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In condemning the Nov. 13, ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, November 25, 2015
  • You won't believe what happened to these misguided teens who joined ISIS
  • Advent Wreath Prayer HD
  • 'We cannot succumb to fear': U.S. joins France in fight against ISIS
  • St. Catherine of Alexandria: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, November ...
  • Clone livestock, racehorses, the family pet - China opens world's ...
  • St. John The Apostle HD

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 2:31-45
31 'You have had a vision, Your Majesty; this is what you saw: a statue, ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61
57 Bless the Lord, all the Lord's creation: praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:5-11
5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 24th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew Dung Lac
November 24: Through the missionary efforts of various ... Read More