Iraqi Catholics journey to England’s Nazareth

  • Written by:

Robert Ewan
The Chaldean Catholic mission in the United Kingdom began its 30-Year anniversary celebration with their first pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. On July 2, 2016 more than 200 Iraqi Chaldean pilgrims were joined by the Lebanese Melkite church parishioners.They were led by Father Nadheer Dako and Father Shafiq Abouzayd.

The pilgrims visited several sacred places and afterwards carried the statue of Our Lady in a procession along the ‘Holy Mile’ which extends from the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to the Roman Catholic Slipper Chapel. Mgr John Armitage, Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady, greeted the pilgrims and gave an interesting and informative talk about the shrine of Our lady of Walsingham. A solemn Catholic Mass was celebrated in Arabic and Aramaic, which was the language of Jesus Christ. The congregation commended the needs of their suffering brethren in Iraq and Syria to Our Lady of Walsingham.

Fr Nadheer Dako was very pleased with the pilgrimage. He said: “This was a wonderful day where our parishioners shared their faith, their kindness and time with each other. This was a highly spiritually-charged and joyous event. He added: “We have laid our spiritual corner-stone in order to buy our own church in the United Kingdom.”

The event attracted a wide range of ages, with the youngest pilgrim being under two and the oldest being more than 80 years of age.

The Chaldean and the Melkite churches are one of the Oriental Catholic Churches that are in full communion with Rome.