From Monsignor Rahho’s death, peace and reconciliation shall rise, says Cardinal Sandri

The prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches celebrated this morning a memorial Mass for the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul slain by terrorists last month. In Kurdistan Monsignor al-Qas says everyone is still waiting for the truth.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Almost a month after Mgr Faraj Rahho, Chaldean bishop of Mosul, was found dead, a prayer in memory of his soul and for the victims of the war in Iraq was held in the Vatican. This morning Card Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, celebrated a Mass in the Vatican Basilica to remember the slain prelate, “taken by violent hands and hearts, he sowed the words of God.” Hope now lies in “the harvest that is coming” so that his death “may give rise to peace at all levels and rouse the Chaldean Church as a whole, its bishops, priests and faithful.”

The Eucharistic celebration, over which Cardinal Sandri presided, was co-celebrated by Card Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and Card. Bernard Francis Law.

The lifeless body of Monsignor Rahho was found last 13 March in a dump, 14 days after he was abducted.

However, “the truth about his kidnapping and death remains quite unclear,” Mgr Rabban al-Qas, Chaldean bishop of Amadiyah, told AsiaNews.

“Like all Iraqis Christians are living a moment of great fear after the outbreaks of violence between Shia militias and the army in the south and in Baghdad. In Mosul it is even worse because here the central authorities are practically non-existent.”

“The latest episodes of violence, the two car bombs that blew up on Tuesday, left 12 people dead, mostly policemen, near the Dominican church which itself suffered serious damages,” he added.

Hope in a possible future lies increasingly in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. Here in the diocese of Amadiyah a new church dedicated to Saint Joseph will be inaugurated on 1 May in the recently rebuilt Christian village of, Ramta.

“We are going to observe International Workers’ Day as we celebrate Saint Joseph for the first time,” he said