Prayers urged for Iraqi refugees

Cathedral hosts Holy Hour to pray for persecuted Christians of Iraq
The Very Rev. John Lankeit urges the Catholic faithful to attend a Holy Hour and Rosary prayer service 7 p.m., Aug. 22 at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, 6351 N. 27th Ave. This event is being held in response to the tragically violent persecution of Christians in Iraq by Islamic State militants who gained control of Mosul and several other cities and villages in recent weeks.

Christians are being forced to convert to Islam or face death. Thousands of Christians are fleeing their homes to remote and dangerous regions of Iraq in what has been described as a humanitarian crisis. Churches in the region of have been bombed, looted and destroyed and many have been killed.

Thinique – Peoria

“Pope Francis implores Catholics to pray for the tens of thousands of people who have had to flee their homes, who are suffering and who have been killed for their faith in Christ,” the Very Rev. Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, said.

Msgr. Felix Shabi, pastor of the Chaldean Catholic Church of Arizona, the local Iraqi Catholic community, will offer the scriptural reflection at the Aug. 22 Holy Hour.

A portion of the Rosary prayers will be said in Aramaic, the native tongue of the Chaldean people and the language spoken by Jesus Christ. The Chaldean Catholic choir will perform a hymn in Aramaic.

Arizona is home to approximately 1,000 Chaldean Catholic families. A collection will be taken to support them at the Holy Hour.

Pope Francis has called on Catholics to pray for the tens of thousands who have had to flee and who are suffering for their faith in Christ.