In the letter to the faithful, the cardinal recalls the Pope’s visit in March, an opportunity to « be brothers ». . Christians and Muslims must « serve one another » like « members of the same family ». . Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, believers will find « a source of hope and strength » in the celebration.
Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Christmas is a favorable time « for reconciliation and peace », writes the Chaldean patriarch Card Louis Raphael Sako in his Christmas letter to the faithful and recalls the apostolic letter « Fratelli tutti » inviting Pope Francis invite us to « be brothers instead of fighting each other ».
He continues, « Christians and Muslims should put aside their differences, love one another, and serve one another as family members. Let us work together as a team to change our situation, to overcome these crises and to give priority to our homeland through mutual respect that consolidates the values of coexistence. «
For Iraqi Christians, the Christmas holidays are twofold: for the first time it will be a celebration of the whole nation without distinguishing between Christians and Muslims. A joy and satisfaction that marks the beginning of the visit of Pope Francis, who will undertake an apostolic journey in early March – the first abroad since the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic – to the Arab nation, touching symbolic places: from Baghdad to Mosul on the way through Ur dei Caldei and the plain of Nineveh, the cradle of the Christian presence in the country.
The Patriarch writes: « For the past two decades we have celebrated Christmas in an uncertain state that will continue to deteriorate significantly in unprecedented ways in 2020 due to the corona pandemic. In addition, since March 2020, we have had to stop prayers and pastoral activities in our churches to ensure the safety of our people. « ».
In a critical context, Card Sako continues, the believers « we, the believers, should focus on the meaning of Christmas rather than the » appearance « of our celebration, which would also be restricted due to Corona. Despite all the circumstances, Christmas remains a source of hope and strength to restore spiritual serenity through our intimate celebration within the family and church fellowship based on the true meaning of Christmas so that the birth of Christ may be in our hearts and in our hearts becomes our families who fill us with the grace of trust. «
The cardinal, who traces the life of Jesus, exhorts us to « show solidarity with one another and help the needy, especially the unemployed, and students struggling with the consequences of a corona pandemic, to continue their studies. « In this sense, those assigned by the Patriarchate for the benefit of the needy fall over 150. 000 dollars without a difference « between Christians and Muslims in the frame.
Faith, prayer and charity are the means to prepare for Christmas and the New Year with the hope that « God will fill our hearts with graces and blessings ». . “We ask God – closes the Cardinal – to grant our country and the whole world peace and healing from the new coronavirus pandemic. I also invite you to take advantage of Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq and find creative ways in the light of an important event for the country and region [of the Middle East]. « .
Iraq, Christmas Day, Pope Francis, Louis Raphaël I. Sako
World news – USA – IRAQ map Sako calls for Christmas for Christmas of peace and reconciliation in Iraq during Covid
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