To Pray for the Christians of Iraq

Post by Allison Salerno,
I drive New Jersey highways to work each morning, one uninspiring state road after another. Lately, I have found a scenic side road, right before I pull up to the large public high school where I work. The subdivision has large yards and ranch homes festooned for the season. Pumpkins, bales of hay and scarecrows dot the lawns. Some folks even have started to display Christmas wreaths even.

As I was navigating these hilly pretty suburban streets, a news report came on my car radio about more Christians killed in Iraq. Overnight, bomb attacks targeted Christian homes in the Baghdad neighborhoods of al-Mansour, al-Duarah and Sara Camp.

Al-Qaida– the same folks who murdered innocents on Sept. 11 – including dozens of my husband’s friends – is taking “credit” for the massacre of more than 50 worshippers, including priests, at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad at a vigil Mass for All Saint’s Day.

It is considered the worst attack on Iraqi Christians in modern times. This is the land we learned as children was the “Fertile Crescent,” the “Birthplace of Civilization” 4,000 years ago. God have mercy on us all.

How many of us Americans consider ourselves Christians and yet do little to live out our faith day by day? How many of us would be willing to be martyrs, to pray in public no matter what the consequences? Would we be willing to die for the faith?

A dear friend, whose father works in Jordan with Iraqi Christian refugees, tells me the persecution of Iraqi Christians has been unrelenting ever since Saddam Hussein was ousted from power. Hussein was brutal, for sure, but he had other targets, such as the Kurds, for his persecution.

Let us pray none of us blessed enough to be living in countries where religious freedom is cherished take our faith for granted. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Iraq and every place where Christians are persecuted. Let us pray for the souls of their tormentors too. May they begin to understand that God gazes on us all and waits for us to turn our hearts to Him.

UPDATE: To Send Supplies to the Christians of Iraq.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. –Saint Augustine Work as if everything depends on God, and pray as if everything depends on you.–St. Ignatius of Loyola

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    Thanks for this post- so sorry about your husband's friends…. :(

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16021781602272064901 Allison

    @priest's wife.Thanks for reading, and commenting and for your empathy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04545510194367389333 Stefanie

    Allison, thank you for writing about this. I have been much in prayer for both the murdered and the murderers. For all are together now in eternity. I wonder how the conversations are continuing without the press of human time and human expectations. As the Church enters the final weeks of its Church year and enters into the promise of the new one, our Sunday gospels are full of people judging one another's worthiness — and of the reality of God having the final say. Yet Saul of Tarsus — 'breathing murderous threats' against Christians — had his eyes blinded by Jesus so that he could see. If there is hope for Saul, there is hope for all.I was transfixed by the images from the candlelight memorial service held in the same cathedral, one week later. All the pews under which some had tried to hide during the terrorist attack had been removed. In their place, lying on the floor and in the form of a giant cross, were white sheets of paper — with the names of the victims on them. Before each name was a big white candle — lit by the others who attended. Some were not Catholic. They came together to pray for peace.I will remember that image always…and wonder how eager I would be to enter into a church that had been so recently bloodied — to pray for my friends and my enemies…Sobering stuff indeed.

  • Anonymous

    There will be Modern Day martyrs in the church and unfortunately most will come from within the Islamic world.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16021781602272064901 Allison

    Stefanie: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I did not know all that about the candlelight memorial. Sad and beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    OUR PRAY OF THE ROSARY TO THE BLESSED MOTHER, MARY, WILL BE SAID FOR ALL OF THOSE MARTYRS. BUT MOST PRAYS WELL BE SAID FOR THE SOLES OF THE MURDERS FOR THEY MAY SUFFER ETERNAL FIRES OF HELL. THEY TRULY NEED TO REPENT FOR THIS TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE DEED! OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYS WILL BE WITH THOSE POOR FAMILIES WHO MOURN FOR THEIR BELOVED ONES.

  • Anonymous

    We must have the same message that Jesus had on the Cross when He said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Pray also for our tropps over there protecting them.

  • Anonymous

    to our catholic brethren in iraq,your brave and peaceful ways inspire the whole world. you have the stuff of saints and martyrs. though we condole with bereaved families, we salute you for keeping the light of Christ shining on the land of the prophets and patriarchs.


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