Baghdad – “You are a living Church”. The words spoken by Pope Francis in Baghdad, in the homily of the liturgical concelebration he presided over in the Chaldean Cathedral of St. Joseph during his pastoral visit to Iraq, were chosen as the motto of the Chaldean Youth Meeting, scheduled in the Iraqi capital from November, 18 to 20.
At least 400 boys and girls from Baghdad and other Chaldean dioceses scattered across the country will participate in the event, convened by the Chaldean Patriarchate.
The youth event, marked by liturgical appointments, times of prayer, debates and moments of socialization, will have as its highlight a catechetical meeting led by the Chaldean Patriarch, Louis Raphael Sako on the theme “We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”. In the various community moments, attention will focus on some issues related to the encounter with Christ and the ecclesial life of the young Chaldean generations.
To facilitate individual and community reflection, some questions concerning the personal relationship of each one with Christ himself, the effectiveness of catechetical courses, familiarity with the Holy Scriptures, more effective in explaining to others the Christian hope and living the universal participation in the priesthood of Christ in everyday life, shared by every Christian by virtue of Baptism. The boys and girls gathered in Baghdad will also be urged to make known their expectations regarding the synodal journey undertaken in the Catholic Church in view of the next Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
The impressive exodus which in the last few decades has seen a large part of Iraqi Christians leave their country, has affected above all the younger generations of the baptized. The meeting of young people convened by the Chaldean Patriarchate represents an attempt to take responsibility also for this phenomenon, and to question oneself about the treasures that should be kept and the graces that need to be begged to see the miracle of faith in Christ flourish and flourish again in the lives Iraqi boys and girls.
The words and gestures disseminated by Pope Francis during his historic trip to Iraq continue to be full of suggestions for the present and the future of Christians in the country of two rivers. “Today – said the Pope, concluding the homily read in Italian during the mass celebrated on the afternoon of Sunday, March 7 in Erbil (see Fides, 7/3/2021) – I can see and touch firsthand that the Church in Iraq is alive, that Christ lives and works in this holy and faithful people of his”. In the few days of his short and intense pilgrimage among the pains and expectations of the Iraqi people, the 85-year-old Successor of Peter experienced the tribulations and heartened the hopes of rebirth of all the people and of the local Christian community. From Baghdad to Mosul, from Qaraqosh to Erbil, the Successor of Peter encountered the miracle of a community of living faith, a humble and poor people of God, made even more limited in numbers by the hardships of recent years, which continues to draw to the inexhaustible source of the Apostles’ faith. Men and women, young people and children also told him about the sufferings and blows suffered in the recent past without accusing, cursing or complaining. Rather attesting – as the Syrian Catholic priest Ammar Yako then said in his testimony before the Pope in Qaraqosh – that even the years spent as refugees by him and his parishioners, expelled from their homes, were not “cursed years, but blessed by Lord, that showed his glory”.
Source: Agenzia Fides