A Day of Prayer and Adoration for Iraqi, Syrian Christians and More

Mentioned this on the air last week while chatting with Sheila Liaugminas on A Closer Look. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (PFSP) has organized a worldwide day of prayer and adoration — and fasting, if you can do it — for the sake of our suffering Christian brethren in Iraq and Syria, and possibly elsewhere.

The PFSP, you may recall, recently lost a young priest, Father Kenneth Walker in a tragedy that also involved the serious beating injury of another priest, in the rectory of their mission church. I remember Max Lindenman telling me that their parish, Mater Misericordiae Parish, was “a real mission church”, in an area greatly in need of evangelization and sacraments. Now they are calling for this day of prayer for one of the first missioned-to areas in the world.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter asks all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate Friday, August 1 to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering terrible persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

August 1 is the First Friday of the month and the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, which is celebrated as a Third Class Feast in FSSP houses and apostolates. It is the feast in which we read of the great power of the persevering prayer of members of the Church: “Peter therefore was kept in Prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5)

This feast of our Patron should be an invitation to the faithful to join us in Holy Hours and other fitting prayers to beg the Most Holy Trinity that these members of the Mystical Body may persevere in the faith, and that, like St. Peter, they may be delivered from this terrible persecution. May such a day serve as a reminder to us of the stark contrast that stands between our days of vacation and ease, and their daily struggle for survival as they are killed or exiled from their homes.

To help in this endeavor, they are making available
a schedule of live-streamed masses. They’re also encouraging prayer, at home, or in church, or wherever you can; visits to the Blessed Sacrament. For the sick and the homebound, there are a number of online Adoration (and rosary) streams available.

If you want some Rosary company, you can invite your guardian angels and favorite saints to pray with you, or you can hit my Sorrowful, Joyful, Luminous and Glorious mysteries, and the great Litany of the Sacred Heart, too. Use these links, though; we’ve just upgraded our stuff over here and for some reason my sidebar links are messed up. I will get them fixed.

The little fiction I imagined the other day at First Things cannot come close to the reality being reported here:

“They [the militants] stole everything from them — cars, gold, passports — so I wonder how they would possibly go to any neighboring country like Turkey or Jordan,” he said. “They will not be able to without those passports.” [...] Kurdish security forces known as the Peshmerga have kept their autonomous region in Iraq safe from the IS forces, but their diligence in preventing IS terrorists from entering their territory has left many of these new refugees stranded on their border for days.

“They have to wait until somebody comes from inside Kurdistan with other Christians who would know them, maybe from the language (they speak Aramaic) or a relative or something,” Father Felix said. “Only then will they clear them out and accept them into Kurdistan.”

The Nineveh plains to which many Iraqi Christians fled are within the sites of the Islamic State; water and electricity are already cut off.

Patriarch Louis Rafael I Sako denounced IS as worse than the country’s Mongol invaders during the medieval period.

“This has never happened in Christian or Islamic history. Even Genghis Khan or Hulagu [the Mongol destroyer of Baghdad in 1258] didn’t do this,” he said, according to Reuters, at a church service in Baghdad where 200 Muslims joined in solidarity.

“We are seeing great swatches of Christianity wiped from the Middle East,” said Edward Clancy, Aid to the Church in Need’s director of evangelization and outreach. He said IS enforces “the strictest and most brutal interpretation of sharia,” including “little children having their hands hacked off” for stealing food out of hunger

“They have no problem with crucifixion, and they have done it,” he said.

Clancy said Aid to the Church in Need confirmed IS’ atrocities with priests and bishops on the ground through its regional coordinator.

“Simply put, it is all true: They are kidnapping, there are crucifixions, beheadings, beatings and enforced conversions,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

Joan Frawley Desmond writes: Their witness stirs our conscience, too. We Americans want the world to take care of its own problems, but now Mosul’s Christians, along with many other embattled religious minorities, remind us that we can not wish away evil.

No, we can’t. But we can pray; we can go to our church today and make a visit, and fast. All of these things, offered up, have real power against evil because these actions, unlike wishes, rise up to heaven and call down the power of the Almighty. Prayer changes things.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jean Pergande

    Am doing this. Prayer and fasting.

  • Pearlroche

    Thank you for your powerful piece on the plight of Iraqi Christians in this month’s First Things. I wonder is there any way we can contribute to a fund to help them? Margaret ( Ireland) margaretmhickey@gmail.com

  • Skay

    Thank You Elizabeth. I am overwhelmed. It is hard to comprehend such evil.