Young people in Kurdistan preparing Christmas

iraq_3_220_x_1472.jpgAhmadiya (AsiaNews) – “Without Mary it is not possible to know Jesus and thus find redemption,” was the theme upon which Mgr Rabban Al-Qas, Chaldean bishop of Ahmadiya (Iraqi Kurdistan) wanted to reflect at a meeting held last Friday with 300 young people from his diocese. The prelate, who spoke to AsiaNews, said the day was one of “of celebration and great joy” to remember “our mother Mary” on the eve of the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. The young people, all students aged 15 to 24, came from nearby villages, and the bishop was assisted by three priests.

In his intervention Monsignor Al-Qas focused on Our Lady’s example “in welcoming the news from the Archangel Gabriel who announced that she would be the mother of the Lord.”

“As Christmas approaches we should not forget the central figure that is Mary; without her it is impossible for Man to find salvation.”

The bishop sent a clear message to the meeting’s young participants. He said: “through Mary we can break the vicious cycle in which we are confined by a materialistic society focused on earthly pleasures. As Christians we must remember that we have an ‘after’ to think about. That ‘after’ is the resurrection, the hope Jesus has given us. And Mary plays an essential role in Man’s redemption.”

At the end of the meeting the bishop celebrated mass in Aramaic, followed by singing and a group of young people who put on a play.

Monsignor Al-Qas told AsiaNews that the universal Church, especially that of Iraq, must pay attention to young people.

“We cannot abandon them to their own devices,” he pleaded. “We must do something for the new generations.”

In the Iraqi context, this means that in addition to the tragedy of war great attention must be paid to the growing proselytising by evangelical groups, including among Catholics. Among them young people are the most vulnerable and the most susceptible to fall for promises of jobs and money.”