Pope Francis Travels to Iraq
A Journey of Hope
The Holy Father will be visiting Iraq from March 5-8. For quite some time, he has publicly expressed his concern for the well being of Christians being persecuted at the hands of Islamic militants.
Pope Francis has been wanting to visit Iraq for years. To visit faithful who were driven from their homes in August 2014, only to return in 2017 to find nothing but rubble where their homes and cities used to stand. He will be there for families who were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs – all because of the destructive and evil force of ISIS. For more on the persecution of our fellow faithful, visit our page here.
“The papal visit will lift up our spirits and morale more than anything else. All the eyes of the world will be on Baghdeda. And in this way the world will know what happened to this city. The terrible destruction and the forcible ethnic cleansing. It will also be a good thing if afterwards we get more support and help. This visit is really important to us, to those of us who are living here, especially after the massive ethnic cleansing and expulsion of so many of us.
His visit means that we are not alone and that there are people who are praying for us. This will give us fresh hope and encourage us to persevere, here on our own soil, and not leave it,” said Fadi Saqat, coordinator of ACN’s projects in the Niniveh Plains.
Aid to the Church in Need and its donors opened their hearts to the faithful of Iraq, supporting numerous projects to put Christian communities back together again, to put families back in their homes again.
- ACN, through the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee, provided $8.3 million dollars for the reconstruction of 2,860 houses in six locations in the Nineveh Plains. The reconstruction efforts continue as more Christian families seek to return.
- Initial first aid in 2014-2015 consisted of temporary schools and emergency shelters for refugees. Our donors’ generosity funded blankets, food, rent and caravans to house refugees and secure ongoing schooling for their children. By 2017, emergency aid had assisted 11,800 Christian families, 7.200 children had attended newly built schools, and in a 12-month span had distributed 141,600 food baskets to those desperately in need.
- Reconstruction is key to the future of Christianity in the Middle East and a sign of hope. Church buildings are crucial to the healing of returning Christians and to peace in the region. ACN continues to fund projects repairing churches, convents, monasteries, schools, etc., those buildings destroyed by ISIS terror.
- For the Catholic University of Erbil, we gave $1,395,590 towards the cost of 3 educational buildings in 2019. We complemented this construction grant with scholarship funding in 2018 totaling $586,506 and both scholarship and operational grants totaling $632,920 in 2019.
- In 2018, ACN gave $1,846,020 for the purchase of medical technology for the Maryamana Catholic Hospital in Erbil. This was followed in 2020 with a grant of $66,720 for the purchase of a COVID-19 emergency factory oxygen machine.
The Pope travels to Iraq to comfort his people who have suffered so long. Please pray for him and the Iraqi faithful at www.lightingacandle.org.