10/31/2011, 00.00
IRAQ
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Forgiveness and prayers for peace one year on from Baghdad cathedral massacre

The words of Cardinal Sandri at a mass celebrated in Rome to commemorate the killing of over 40 people. Today in the Iraqi capital Archbishop of Baghdad leads celebration with patriarchs of the Maronite and Syrian Catholic Churches.
Rome (AsiaNews) - "The Church and the world can not and must not forget. We must remember, yes, certainly, but also offer forgiveness and then implore peace for the living and the dead, "said Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, in his homily during Mass celebrated yesterday October 30, by Msgr. Michaele Al Jameel, the procurator for the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate accredited to the Holy See, in the Syrian Catholic Church in Rome on the first anniversary of the massacre which took place in the cathedral of "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" in Baghdad, where two priests and more than 40 worshipers were killed during evening Mass on Sunday, October 31, 2010.

Card. Ignace Moussa Daoud, former Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern churches, Habib al-Sadr, Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See, and Iraqi priests, religious men and women, students in Rome participated in the liturgy.

Card. Sandri expressed his spiritual communion with the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, Syrian Catholic and Maronite (who travelled to Baghdad for the commemoration), and Chaldean, whom today will concelebrate a mass in the cathedral to commemorate the victims with the bishop of Baghdad, Mgr. Jean Benjamin Sleiman.

After recalling his participation in the meeting for peace in Assisi, on Thursday 27 October, the prefect of the Eastern Churches called again for the gift of peace. "All the Syro-Catholic – Card. Sandri said – are united with us as are many other communities and together we pray that the love of Christ conquer death forever."

Cardinal Sandri also recalled the words of Benedict XVI delivered after the Angelus, November 1, 2010, the day after the massacre, for the victims "of this absurd violence, even more ferocious in that it has been inflicted upon defenceless people gathered in God's house, which is a house of love and reconciliation. " "Let us pray - continued Cardinal Sandri – that the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters can be a seed of peace and rebirth, and that those who care about reconciliation, fraternity, solidarity and coexistence find reason and strength to do good".

At the end of Mass, Father Mukhlis Shasha, a friend of the two martyred priests of the cathedral, Thair Saad Allah and Waseem Sabeeh, gave a testimony of the manner in which the two priests were killed. He also pointed out that Christians in Iraq are still a target of attacks that have driven many of them to leave the country.

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