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?Cardinal Filoni’s visit to Iraq concludes Pilgrimage among persecuted Christians

?Cardinal Filoni’s visit to Iraq concludes Pilgrimage among persecuted Christians

A vigil in a tent in
Arbil and Easter Mass in Sulaymaniyah
were the last events during Cardinal Fernando Filoni’s visit to Iraq.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples wrapped up
his visit in Iraq, where he brought Pope Francis’ solidarity to the local
people, especially the displaced people of Mossul and of the Plain of Nineveh.

“It was a real pilgrimage”, he said, “among persecuted
Christians; a pilgrimage which was a real spiritual gift for me”. The Cardinal
celebrated Easter Mass on Sunday in Sulaymaniyah where he encouraged the more
than 400 families who have found refuge there.

Even more troubling was the situation in the large camp
of Arbil, where Cardinal Filoni concelebrated the Easter vigil with the
Patrirach for Babylon for Chaldeans, Louis Raphaël Sako, and Archbishop Bashar Warda of Arbil for
Chaldeans, in an enormous tent in the 109th quarter of the capital
of Kurdistan. More than 5,000 Christians, most of whom are refugees in the
camp, participated in the ceremony.

After Patriarch Sako’s homily, Cardinal Filoni addressed
a greeting in Italian which was translated into Arabic. The Cardinal also
visited the building where unfortunately the conditions are less than perfect.
The authorities of the autonomous government, however, have assured the Prefect
of Propaganda Fide that the refugees will soon be transferred to a centre with
improved living facilities. 

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