09/09/2015, 00.00
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Erbil: Young people and consecrated life amid Islamic State fanaticism

by Jinan Shamil Azeez*
September 10 to 12 the archdiocese is organizing "three days" dedicated to the consecrated life, with special focus on young people. Most are from Mosul and Nineveh plain, now in the hands of jihadists. A moment of reflection and prayer on the theme of vocation, in a context of violence and suffering.

Erbil (AsiaNews) - In the context of the events planned for the Year of Consecrated Life proclaimed by Pope Francis,  from September 10 to 12  the Archdiocese of Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan) is organizing  "three days" dedicated to the youth and Consecrated Life . An event organized by the local Chaldean Church, in collaboration with the various congregations of religious men and women, as well as institutes of consecrated life and apostolic movements serving in the diocese.

This year the initiative has special significance both for the place in which it is organized as well as for the coincidence. In fact, when talking about the city of Erbil and, above all, the District of Ankawa the seat of the diocese, our thoughts now turn to the Christian refugees who for more than a year have been driven from their homes and from their lands in Mosul and the Nineveh plain.

This is why the Archdiocese of Erbil, together with communities of consecrated life, have decided to offer a special opportunity to the local youth, a privileged moment of reflection and prayer together on the theme of vocations. They aim to be a spark of hope in the ocean of discord, hatred, nonsense ... In other words: "Vocation in the era of Isis" (Islamic state).

The meeting has a motto: "For their sake I consecrate myself" (17:19 GV), a phrase taken from the prayer that Jesus prayed at the Last Supper, which will be the starting point, the theme and the central idea of ​​reflections. The organizing committee has prepared everything to make the days a fertile opportunity to answer questions from young people in a context of prayer and contemplation.

Tomorrow, on September 10 there will be two special moments: the catechism of the Archbishop of Erbil, Msgr. Bashar Matti Warda, who will propose a discussion based on the question: "Does Consecrated Life today still make sense?". Afterwards there will be an Marian evening.

The second day is full of initiatives: from the morning prayer at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, followed by reflection on the theme of hope in the lives of young people and its challenges; and again, the division of youth groups into a Lectio Divina on the text of John Chapter 17. In the afternoon the young people will visit various places linked to religious congregations (convents, monasteries, houses, ...) to make them aware of how consecrated men and women live and how they  follow the evangelical counsels each day. The day will culminate  in the sacrament of Reconciliation, during a prayer vigil.

On the final day there will be the celebration of the Eucharist, with where the intentions and desires of all  participants will be placed before the Lord. One thousand young people have enrolled to take part, most of whom come from the lands and villages now under the control of the Islamic State, in the Mosul and surrounding area.

Through these days, our youth want to convey a unique, great message: "God is with us and consecration is still possible even in the current context, because our gaze must always be fixed on the One who tells us: For their sake I consecrate myself" .

*Member of the organizing committee

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