Pope Francis sends financial support to Christians in Iraq

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Christian Deguit
Pope Francis sends personal and financial support to Christians in Iraq.
Pope Francis recently ordered a relief delegation that was heading to Iraqi Kurdistan to also provide his personal and financial support to the persecuted Christians in the region.
(Reuters/Tony Gentile)Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his general audience at St Peter’s Square at the Vatican

The Pope wrote in a letter of support that this act was “an initiative which expresses friendship, ecclesial communion and closeness to many brothers and sisters, whose situation of affliction and tribulation pains me deeply and invites us to defend the inalienable right of every person to freely profess their faith,” as quoted by the Catholic News Agency.

Pope Francis added that an act of mercy, where one would heal the moral and physical wounds and also provide solace for the “afflicted and perhaps, lost hearts” of the Christians who are victims of persecution, is not just a gesture of charity but also “a relief to [one’s] own body, because all Christians are [essentially] ‘one’ in Christ.”

The Pope sent along sacred vestments that are being used for Catholic services, as well as an undisclosed personal financial donation as a symbol of affection and support.

The members of the delegation made their way to the city of Erbil, which is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and stayed there from April 1 to 4. This team was organized by Catholic aid group, Aid to the Church in Need (ANC), and was composed of well-known bishops and other church leaders from Italy, including Bishop Francesco Cavina of Capri, Bishop Antonio Suetta of Ventimiglia-San Remo, Fr. Massimo Fabbri, and ANC director, Alessandro Monteduro.

In addition, Bishop Cavina said that this charitable act by Pope Francis was a personal gesture.

“As soon as the Holy Father knew about my trip together with Aid to the Church in Need, he phoned me expressing the desire to send a gift to our Iraqi brothers in the faith,” Cavina said, as quoted by Crux.

The relief group will be meeting with church leaders in Erbil and neighboring areas. They will also make visits to schools that have been set-up by ANC, which allow 7,000 Iraqi refugee children to still study in spite of their situation.