11/17/2021, 12.51
IRAQ
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Baghdad auxiliary bishop on youth meeting and a 'living Church'

Some 450 young men and women from seven dioceses in the country, from north to south, will meet in Baghdad from 18 to 20 November for a moment of discussion and prayer. A message of trust and hope for the future comes from the Chaldean Church. The testimony of young priests and nuns will nourish the desire for vocation.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Auxiliary Bishop Basel Yaldo of Baghdad, a close aide to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, presented the meeting of young Chaldeans in Iraq scheduled in the capital from 18 to 20 November.

The event will provide “hope” to young Iraqis who are "part of a living Church", as Pope Francis underlined last March during his historic trip to the Arab country.

The gathering will be special because it comes at a "difficult" political, social and economic moment but Church institutions are tasked with showing “a path for the future”.

The meeting comes a day before World Youth Day, which this year is celebrated at the diocesan level next Sunday.

“At this complicated time, we want young people to be able to find a point of reference, a place for discussion and a way forward,” explained the prelate.

For the first time in the history of the Chaldean Church, more than 450 young men and women, aged 18 to 35, will gather in Baghdad from seven dioceses: from Basra in the south to Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as Kirkuk, Alqosh, Mosul and Nineveh Plains.

“We have worked on it” for three months, Bishop Yaldo said. The patriarch, Card Sako, was very keen on holding this event, and proposed it in the last meeting of the Chaldean Synod. This was a year ago but it was suggested several times before but postponed for security issues.

“The schedule includes seminars, moments of prayer, catechism lessons, testimonies of faith and insights into some topical issues, including political ones, on the life of the country.”

"The patriarch will be present with a catechism lesson and then some questions he himself wants to ask young people about the future of Iraq, their role and their responsibilities, how they can help and contribute to development of the country.”

Testimonies about life in the various dioceses are on the agenda, as are indications on how to proclaim the Gospel, alternating with moments of leisure, games and group competitions.

The prelate hopes that "It will be a beautiful moment to be together, ending with a solemn Mass celebrated by the cardinal on Saturday 20 November".

Young people themselves “asserted the urgency of a meeting", Bishop Yaldo explained, because they need to "come back to life", to feel like a community again “after the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic, which stopped activities for almost two years".

“Young men and women want something that is a sign of renewal, to which they have responded in a very positive way, with very strong support,” the prelate added.

“More will come in the future since a meeting is in the works for young Chaldeans from all over the world, from America to Australia”

Starting with the motto ‘You are a living Church’, the objective of these three days is to pass on “a sign of hope, strengthening the value of synodality”, which embraces consecrated and lay people alike.

As a Chaldean patriarchate, “we want to be close to young people, help them find work to stop this migration.”

"Finally, we also thought of hearing the testimonies of young priests and nuns to encourage vocations, starting with listening, dialogue and prayer ... Let us look to the future with renewed confidence!”

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