Washington D.C., - In observance of a
week promoting awareness of Christians
persecuted internationally, the Chaldean
Archbishop of Erbil offered a Mass in
Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for victims of
the Islamic State, stating that suffering
offer opportunities for kindness.
“Is there a blessing in being persecuted
for the faith?” Archbishop Bashar Warda
asked Nov. 28.
“The grace of being persecuted: God shows
his love and care through the solidarity
being shown by those outside. Also, the
suffering gives a chance to people of a good
will to show their love.”
Organized by Catholic agencies including
Knights of Columbus and the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops, the Mass was held at
the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in
Washington, D.C. A day of prayer was held on
the previous Sunday for Islamic State
victims, all part of “Solidarity in
Suffering: a Week of Awareness for
Islamic State invaded Iraq in 2014,
forcing a large majority of Christians to
seek refuge in or near Erbil. There,
Archbishop Warda has helped displaced
Christians return to their homes and has
overseen humanitarian efforts to provide
basic necessities for displaced communities.
Although it is not the positive will of
God for his people to suffer, he said, it is
an opportunity for Christians to learn how
to love and to find their identity in God.
“When we give with love and receive with
love, we learn to be the children of God who
gives with love and delights in our
prayers,” he said.
Archbishop Warda applauded a promise of
US vice president Mike Pence to provide more
aid to the people in Iraq, and thanked the
humanitarian aid funded thus far by the
Knights of Columbus.
The Knights of Columbus has committed
more $17 million to aid minorities
persecuted in the Middle East, including $2
million to help rebuild the predominantly
Christian town of Karemlesh, located fewer
than 20 miles southeast of Mosul.