The Chaldean primate led the ceremony in the presence of bishops, priests, nuns and many faithful. In his homily, the cardinal stressed that every priest "must be like" Jesus, a "caring and kind" father. Turning to Frs Hanna and Shamil, he reminded them that prayers help “overcome difficulties".
Baghdad (AsiaNews) – The Chaldean patriarch, Card Louis Raphael Sako, led the ordination Mass of two new priests in the Iraqi Church.
In his homily, he said that Jesus "is our example" to priests and pastors because he gave “his life for his flock". Hence, every bishop and every priest “must be like him: a caring and kind father, and clear about pastoral care, wisdom and joy.”
The liturgical service took place yesterday morning in Baghdad’s St Joseph Cathedral, and represents a moment of joy and celebration for a Christian community marked, like the rest of the country, by violence and proxy wars.
The patriarchate’s two curial bishops, Mgr Shlemon Warduni and Mgr Basil Yaldo, were present as were the bishops of the Sister Churches, Mar Youssef Aba and Mar Elia Isaac, papal officials not to mention numerous priests, monks, nuns and faithful.
Speaking directly to Fr Hanna Jihad Issa and Fr Shamil Khidr Salim, the Chaldean primate invited them to "always follow" in the footsteps of Christ, striving to "live what we preach". Only this way, he added, is it possible to "establish trust" with people.
Lastly, he reminded the new priests and the community of “the importance of prayer to illuminate our path" and “overcome difficulties".
Card Sako concluded the service by wishing the new priests a fruitful and constant service for the Church in Iraq under its current difficult circumstances.
Here is a brief profile of the two new priests:
Fr Shamil Khidr Salim
Born in Mosul on 29 January 1995, he has a sister. His parents, like the rest of the family, had to leave their home in August 2014 following the rise of the Islamic State group. They found refuge in Ankawa, Iraqi Kurdistan, where they still live today. The new priest has a degree in Philosophy and Theology from the Pontifical College of Babylon. He studied for a year in Italy, at the Franciscan monastery in Assisi, between September 2018 and June 2019. Patriarch Sako appointed him deacon on 18 October.
FR Hanna Jihad Issa
Father Hanna was born on 8 August 1990. His family includes his parents, two brothers and four sisters. He graduated in Business Administration from the University of Dohuk in the 2013-2014 and taught at Manchesh High School. He studied theology in 2009-2011 and has a remarkable personal culture. He too was ordained deacon on 18 October by the Chaldean primate.