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    » 09/03/2012, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Kirkuk Archdiocese opens private school for Christians and Muslims

    Joseph Mahmood

    'Myriamana' (Our Lady Mary) is a co-ed facility. Kirkuk archbishop Louis Sako was present at the opening ceremony along with local clergy and the imam of the city's grand mosque. This is the first private Christian school to open in the city since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

    Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, on Saturday opened a new private primary school, 'Myriamana (Our Lady Mary),' near the Chaldean cathedral. Representatives of the local clergy, National Education General Director Schant, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hamad Al-Hamin, imam at Kirkuk's grand mosque, and Sheikh Ismael Hadidi attended the event. The new educational facility, which has a nursery and a kindergarten, has more than 100 boys and girls, Christian and Muslims, supervised by 15 staff members.

    For Iraqi Christians, the new school is reason for hope and a cause to stay. It gives a boost to the will to live together. As the archbishop said in his opening address, "A school can always be found near a church because the Church's mission is to educate and train. It is 'Mater et Magistra.' In such an initiative we do not have any material interest, but only a desire to provide a solid education and training to the new generations."

    Financially, the "poorest students will not pay any fees. Middle class kids will pay only half. The fee is symbolic because the school is funded by the diocese. Christians and Muslims will study together. They will learn the principles of both religions in positive, fair and responsible way to that they can live together in mutual respect and harmony and thus promote a culture of dialogue and peace that can guarantee a better future."

    Director Schak spoke about the role Christians have played in Iraqi culture, as well as their contribution to the country's development. In his address, the imam praised the initiatives of the Church to bring together the people of Kirkuk.

    This is the first private Christian school in Kirkuk. Under Saddam Hussein, all schools were state-run. The new government has for its part authorised the opening of private schools and universities.

    Photo: www.ankawa.com

     

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    See also

    23/01/2009 VATICAN – IRAQ
    I asked the Pope for a Mideast Synod to renew the Christian presence, says Mgr Sako
    The archbishop of Kirkuk met Benedict XVI today and described to him his plan for Synod of Middle East bishops. He wants to see “catechesis and pastoral care” renewed and “adapted to today’s reality.” He makes an appeal for “young people to be trained for Iraq’s social and political life.”

    04/12/2012 IRAQ
    Advent in Kirkuk: young people help poor Christian and Muslim children
    The response to the archbishop's initiative "really surprised everyone." Some of the money will go to the Sick Children's Hospital and people who need treatment and drugs. For Mgr Sako, bringing "Christ's joy to their hearts" at Christmas brings a message of "hope, dynamism and sharing".

    29/03/2012 IRAQ
    Mgr Sako urges Christians "not to fear" celebrating Easter
    For the archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraqi Christians are part of a "Church that suffers intensely". Lent is a time to reflect about the faith and, despite difficulties, open up to the world. The prelate cites a number of acts of solidarity that brought together Christians and Muslims. He urges the faithful to renew through the Gospel their enthusiasm in the faith.

    01/08/2011 IRAQ
    Kirkuk: Christians give 320 kg in medical drugs, Mgr Sako offers his wishes for Ramadan
    Together with priests and lay people, the archbishop visits a local medical facility. The medical drugs he brought will be distributed among the city’s many hospitals. The director thanks the prelate for an initiative that will “strengthen trust in our Christian brothers”. The prelate publishes a letter for the sacred month of fasting and praying. “We join you in prayer to God,” he writes, “that he may give us peace and stability.”

    26/04/2012 IRAQ
    "Building bridges of peace", a project that unites Christians and Muslims in Kirkuk
    The Chaldean archbishopric holds a reconciliation forum today. Some 50 political, religious and cultural leaders attend the event. Mgr Sako presents a seven-point proposal, signed by participants, as a "joint commitment" to dialogue. A committee is set to see to its implementation.



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    On the feast day of the Assumption the whole community attended the function, celebrated by Mar Sako. For the patriarchal vicar, this is an historic moment for the frontier town long threatened by jihadists. The Chaldean primate calls on children to "contribute to the community." In Kirkuk His Beatitude opened a grotto dedicated to Our Lady.


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