Iraq Mourns “Always Smiling” Bishop

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BAGHDAD, Iraq, JULY 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Auxiliary Bishop Andreas Abouna of Baghdad died today in Erbil. He was 67 and suffering from kidney failure.
Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, archbishop of Baghdad, presided today at the funeral in Ankawa.

Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil described his brother bishop as a pastor who was “always smiling, even in very difficult situations,” Aid to the Church in Need reported.

Andreas Abouna was born March 23, 1943, in Bedar, Iraq. He joined the seminary at age 14 and was ordained a priest in 1966. After working in the Diocese of Basra, he was assigned to a church in Baghdad where he would serve for 20 years.

During his priestly life, he would also serve 11 years as the director of the Chaldean and Syrian-Catholic mission in England.

Pope John Paul II sent him back to his native Iraq by appointing him auxiliary bishop of Baghdad in 2002, shortly before Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

His episcopal ministry was thus marked by the violence that has beset Iraq.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk told Aid to the Church in Need that “Bishop Abouna was a very good and humble man, very open-minded. He really took care of each one of his priests and he always worked for the unity of the Church. I hope he can pray for us from heaven.”

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