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Iraq’s Cardinal Calls On Faithful To Begin Prayers For Popes Visit

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Iraq’s Cardinal Calls On Faithful To Begin Prayers For Popes Visit

Iraq’s only Catholic cardinal — Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako — called on the faithful to begin praying the following prayer for the papal visit, beginning this Sunday, January 17: 

Lord our God, grant Pope Francis health and safety to carry out successfully this eagerly awaited visit. Bless his effort to promote dialogue, enhance fraternal reconciliation, build confidence, consolidate peace values and human dignity, especially for us Iraqis who have been through painful “events” that affected our lives. Lord, our Creator, enlighten our hearts with Your light, to recognize goodness and peace, and to realize them. Mother Mary, we entrust Pope Francis’ visit to your maternal care so that the Lord may grant us the grace of living in a complete national communion, and cooperate fraternally to build a better future for our country and our citizens. Amen. 

Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq is scheduled for March 5-8 and is expected to include stops in Baghdad, Mosul, Erbil, and the Nineveh Plain, where Christians were forced out of their villages by the advancing Islamic State group in 2014.

He also is expected to go to Ur in southern Iraq, which the Bible records as the birthplace of Abraham. There, he is expected to attend an interreligious gathering with Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

If the trip takes place, Francis will be the first pope to visit Iraq.

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