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Categoría: Papa Francisco
pope francis iraq vaccine against virus hope

Pope Francis: The Lord has given us an effective vaccine against this unpleasant virus. It is hope... With this vaccine, we can emerge with renewed strength.

Pope Francis in Iraq: The vaccine against this virus is hope.

Baghdad, Iraq - March 5, 2021 - Visiting a Baghdad cathedral "sanctified by the blood of our brothers and sisters" killed in a terrorist attack that shocked the world, Pope Francis said their sacrifice should motivate faith and a commitment to work for the common good. Pope Francis met in church this March 5 with the country´s bishops and a representative group of priests, religious, seminarians and catechists. They came from the Syrian Catholic community, but also from Chaldean Catholic, Armenian and Latin rite Catholic parishes. "...The Lord has given us an effective vaccine against this unpleasant virus. It is the hope that is born of persevering prayer and daily fidelity to our apostolates..... With this vaccine, we can emerge with renewed strength," Pope Francis indicated in his message.

Our Lady of Salvation.

The Syrian-Catholic cathedral of Our Lady of Deliverance, sometimes called Our Lady of Salvation, is now a shrine to 48 Christian martyrs who died on Oct. 31, 2010, when militants belonging to an al-Qaeda-linked group besieged the church, detonating explosives and shooting people; 48 Catholics - including two priests - died inside and more than 100 people were wounded.

Photos of the dead, including a 3-year-old boy, hang above the altar.

According to the Vatican, before the terrorist attack and the 2014-2017 war against Islamic State militants, some 5,000 Syrian Catholic families frequented the cathedral; now, it said, no more than 1,000 families belong to the capital´s three Syrian Catholic parishes.

Pope Francis: trust in the power of the Cross.

Pope Francis told the bishops that the memory of the 48, whose cause for sainthood is ongoing, and of the countless Christians killed in the decade since, should "inspire us to renew our own confidence in the power of the cross and its saving message of forgiveness, reconciliation and rebirth."

"Christians are called to bear witness to the love of Christ in every time and place," the Pope said. "This is the Gospel that must be proclaimed and incarnated also in this beloved country."

Syriac Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan welcomed Pope Francis to the cathedral, telling him that the 48 "mingled their blood with that of the Lamb," and showed "their oppressed, murdered or uprooted brothers and sisters in Iraq and the Middle East" that the risen Lord continues to walk with his people.

Cardinal Louis Sako of Baghdad, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch, told Pope Francis that the Syrian Catholic Cathedral and its martyrs are a moving and powerful sign of what Christians across the country have endured and survived over the past decade.

Although the number of Christians in the country has plummeted in the past 20 years, the cardinal said, many have remained and have "preserved the faith, our spiritual serenity and our fraternal solidarity."

"This paternal visit of yours," he told Pope Francis, "gives us the strength to overcome adversity, reassures us that we have not been forgotten and generates in us the confidence and enthusiasm to continue our journey of faith and evangelical witness."

Pope Francis: the vaccine against the virus is hope.

Pope Francis said he understood how the country´s small Christian community, present since the first century, could lose its enthusiasm.

"We know how easy it is to catch the virus of discouragement that sometimes seems to spread around us," the pope told them. "However, the Lord has given us an effective vaccine against that unpleasant virus. It is the hope born of persevering prayer and daily fidelity to our apostolates."

"With this vaccine, we can go out with renewed strength, to share the joy of the Gospel as missionary disciples and living signs of the presence of God´s kingdom of holiness, justice and peace," Pope Francis said.

The women of the congregation responded several times to his address with zagharit, a ululation of praise or honor.

Representatives of the various Catholic communities wore masks and were socially estranged within the church, so Pope Francis also encouraged them to reach out to each other and to other Christians.

Pope Francis said they should think of a precious carpet. "The different churches present in Iraq, each with its millenary historical, liturgical and spiritual heritage, are like so many individual colorful threads which, woven together, form a single beautiful carpet, which shows not only our fraternity, but also points to its origin," the Pope said.

"God himself is the artist who imagined this carpet, patiently wove it and carefully mends it, desiring that we always remain closely united as his sons and daughters," Pope Francis said.

"But, being human and prone to sin," Pope Francis said, "individuals and groups can create knots that stop the weaving process," he said. The knots "can be untied by grace, by a greater love; they can be untied by the medicine of forgiveness and by fraternal dialogue, patiently bearing one another´s burdens and strengthening one another in moments of trial and difficulty," the Pope said.

Pope Francis´ message to the bishops in Iraq: The effective vaccine against this unpleasant virus is hope, said the Holy Father].

Following Pope Francis´ address, the socially estranged congregation recited the "Our Father" prayer in Arabic. Pope Francis signed the church´s book of honor, leaving a message for the Syrian Catholic congregants. His visit to Iraq was followed live on satellite television by thousands of people in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Pope Francis in Iraq.

Redacción: Qriswell Quero, PildorasdeFe.net | Con información de: Catholic News Service
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