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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/5/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bishop calls for a day of prayer

A conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have urged Catholics to answer a call from Church leaders in Iraq to take part in a worldwide day of prayer on August 6, the same days as the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Christians in Iraq have suffered violent persecution at the hands of the recently formed Islamic Caliphate, as have other minority groups, and have been all but expelled from lands controlled by the Caliphate.

Christians in Iraq have suffered violent persecution at the hands of the recently formed Islamic Caliphate, as have other minority groups, and have been all but expelled from lands controlled by the Caliphate.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/5/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: International, Middle East, Iraq


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton and chairman of the International Affairs at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has asked the faithful to pray "for an end to the violent persecution that threatens to extinguish the ancient Iraqi Christian community."

Take part in this rare opportunity to show support for Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq, join in on this day of prayer.

"The Feast of the Transfiguration is one of the major feasts in the Chaldean Catholic Church calendar. Events in Iraq over the past few weeks have been disastrous. Christians have been systematically driven out of Mosul," he said.

"A community of 60,000 before 2003 has dwindled over the years and is now down to almost nothing. For the first time in 1,600 years, no Masses are being celebrated in Mosul. Many Christians have fled to the surrounding Nineveh Plains and into Kurdistan as militants from the Islamic State [formerly ISIS] threaten those who do not subscribe to their fundamentalist ideology.

"We are witnessing today an act of religious and ethnic cleansing toward Christians as well as many other communities such as Sufis, Shabaks, Mandaeans, Yezidis, Turkmen, let alone Shi'ites and Sunnis, as extremists drive people out of the lands that have been their home for thousands of years; some churches have been converted into mosques, ancient monasteries lie abandoned and the homes of Christians have been daubed with signs that would mark them out as a target for the extremists."

Lang pleaded for the British Government to prioritize the saving of Christians and other persecuted communities in Iraq, to offer them help and support. He also called on all Catholics across the globe to support charities that are helping Christians in Iraq.

"I invite you to support Aid to the Church in Need as well as all other Catholic charities offering emergency and pastoral support to Iraqis at a time of great crisis," he said.

"Most important of all, I appeal for your prayers so that God may show the people of Iraq his infinite mercy - comfort the mourners, bind up their wounds and heal the broken-hearted in those biblical lands that have been a cradle of civilization."

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