06/26/2021, 12.07
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Christians pray for peace in the Middle East, entrusted to the Holy Family

In Iraq, Patriarch Sako and local bishops are united for the end of violence, extremism and violent conflicts. Patriarch Pizzaballa and Maronite Primate Beshara al-Rahi will also lead the consecration ceremony. Pope Francis sends a message to today's refugee families who left home, like Joseph and Mary did to protect Jesus.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Tomorrow, in all dioceses of Iraq, the Chaldean Church will hold prayers for peace in the region and for the end of decades of violence, extremism and bloody conflicts. This will coincide with the Consecration of the Middle East to the Holy Family.

The Chaldean Primate, Card Louis Raphael Sako, will celebrate Mass in the Chaldean Cathedral of St Joseph in Baghdad’s Karrada district, in communion with all the prelates of the country.

The service will be broadcast live on the Patriarchate’s website and a video message with Pope Francis’s apostolic blessing is expected at the end.

The "Day of Peace for the Middle East", with its consecration to the Holy Family, is an initiative of the Episcopal Committee of Justice and Peace of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East, 130 years after the publication of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII.

In Iraq, in addition to the Chaldean primate, every local bishop will join the consecration with a Mass celebrated inside their respective cathedral.

In Lebanon, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi will lead the Eucharistic liturgy in Diman, his summer residence. He is scheduled to travel to the Vatican for a meeting on 1 July with Pope Francis to talk about the situation in his country.

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, will preside over the act of consecration in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

The pontiff will also join in, in a message posted on the Chaldean Patriarchate’s website, that will stress the parallel between Joseph and Mary who fled to protect Jesus and the many refugee families today in the Middle East who fled from wars, hunger and violence.

This consecration, the Pope notes, will help rediscover the nature of the vocation of those who profess the Christian faith in the region.

Speaking about living together, the pontiff cites the metaphor of the carpet, which is made up of many different threads, becoming a complete work when they are intertwined with each other.

If violence, conflict and hatred tear even one thread, “everyone suffers,” the Pope says, and the design is lost.

In his message the Pontiff mentions the consolatory work of the Holy Spirit and the light of faith that overcomes the fear of disciples and illuminates the journey of believers (Christians, Jews and Muslims) who share the common lineage of Abraham, father of all believers.

Thus, he calls on everyone to experience what was prophesied in the human brotherhood predicted in the Abu Dhabi document he signed together with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al Tayyieb and in the meeting in Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

At the end of the text, Pope Francis blesses those who will take part, live or through the internet and social media, in the liturgical celebrations taking place tomorrow across the Middle East.

In conjunction with the consecration, an icon of the Holy Family painted and inlaid with the relics of the Basilica of the Annunciation of Nazareth, preserved above the altar of St Joseph's Church, will be taken on pilgrimage to the different countries of the region.

The journey, the promoters explain, will start in Lebanon and reach Rome by 8 December 2021, feast day of the Immaculate Conception, and then finally return to the Holy Land.

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