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“For Christians here, as well as those living as refugees in Europe and America, this visit gives them hope. With the Pope’s visit, we feel that we are not alone. We feel that we are safe because someone cares about us.”
“Thousands lined the streets to see the Pope as he drove past. Religious sisters were literally dancing on the rooftops. These were people who had come back after being forced to leave their homes because of ISIS. What the Pope saw here were truly the living stones of the Church in Iraq.”
The Christians of Baghdad hope that the Pope’s visit will save their community from the brink of extinction. One Church official told ACN that the number of Catholics in Baghdad was no more than a few hundred, after years of threats and bombings.
“The Holy Father’s trip to Iraq is such a sign of encouragement, a message of hope to the Iraqi Christians who have been tested in their faith all down the centuries.”
“On one side of the stole is the Lord’s prayer in our language, Syriac, which comes from Aramaic, the original language of Jesus. On the other side is the Hail Mary.”
A Lamborghini for Iraq: donation from Pope Francis allowed ACN to help persecuted Christians in Iraq
More than 44 percent of the families who originally lived on the Nineveh Plains and were expelled by Islamist violence have now returned to their towns and villages.
“In 2014 ISIS conquered the city and we fled to Kurdistan. After three years the city was liberated, and we returned. I remember very well how damaged the church was. It was completely burned.”