Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Iraq: Hope and Fear Among Christians

First Communion in Baghdad -- Attacks on Church in Kirkuk

München-Baghdad (kath.net/KIN) Despite the dangerous security situation in Baghdad, the same as it was before, over 40 children have celebrated their First Holy Communion in the capital of Baghdad. For Christians it is life threatening, just as it was before, to be seen on the streets of the Iraqi capital. Therefore, the parish must rent a bus to take the children to their communion instruction at the Church.

A young seminarian from Baghdad, who must be anonymous for security reasons, instructed the children during their preparation and sent "Kirche in Not" photos of their instruction for the First Communion.

He says that the children are preparing with "great seriousness and full of joy" in expectation of their reception of the Body of Christ. About the difficult situation of the Christians in Baghdad he says: "This is our home and we will not be driven from it!" The First Communicants are "seedlings of peace" for Iraq. "Christ is our joy and our hope, his message can change our society," explained the Seminarian.

Since the intervention of the "Coalition of the Willing" into Iraq in 2003, Christians have been caught between two fronts in a bloody civil war between Sunnite and Shi'ite militias. Representatives of the Church have stated since, that they are neutral bystanders in this conflict and are working for a peaceful and democratic Iraq.

For that reason there are always more terror attacks on Christian institutions. In this month alone, there have been three attacks on Churches in the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Altogether there were at least 13 people wounded as well as Church and outlying buildings severely damaged. Last monday the Syrian-Catholic St. Ephraim Church in Kirkuk was the target of a car bomb attack. No one was injured, there the security personnel were quickly informed of a suspicious automobile and were able to save the priest and the parish.

Many Christians have left their homes out of fear. Archbishop Louis Sako from Kirkuk reports that in the last two weeks, five families have gone away. Actually the government takes the protection of Christians very seriously. It actually has promised to provide guards for the Churches, says Archbishop Sako, but no one can guarantee that there won't be more explosions.

"Kirche in Not" supports the peace work of the Iraqi Bishops and helps with additionally, to sustain Parishes of the Land and provide pastoral care.

The organization requests its supporters for their prayers for Christians in Iraq and donations for the Church there:

Receiver: Kirche in Not
Account Number [Konto]: 215 20 02
BLZ: 750 903 00
IBAN: DE63750903000002152002
LIGA Bank München

Password: Iraq

Kirche in Note Donation Site, here..

1 comment:

Dan said...

Interestingly, the Christians never had these problems when the "evil monster" Saddam was in power. He tolerated, indeed helped them to live normal, comfortable lives.

This view of Saddam doesn't fit in with all the Washington propaganda, of course, but the facts are what they are.