Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, Chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked the U.S. bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17.
Bishop Pates recounted the struggles of Christians and others in Iraq who have faced the destruction, burning and looting of churches, homes and businesses and, under threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to join their extremist brand of Islam, have fled for their lives. Accordingly, he urged Catholics to let their elected representatives know of their concern that humanitarian assistance reach Christian and other religious minorities who are suffering in Iraq, Syria and other countries.
Bishop Pates also noted Pope Francis’ calls for peace in Iraq and his observation that “violence generates more violence; dialogue is the only path to peace.”
Bishop Farrell stresses the urgency of prayer for the persecuted Christians under siege in Iraq and around the world.
How to Help
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is providing humanitarian relief to 3,500 displaced Iraqi families in Ninewa. CRS works in close partnership with Caritas Iraq and is establishing a new joint office in Erbil, in addition to three locations in northern Iraq.
In June and July, CRS/Caritas Iraq provided 2,000 displaced families from Mosul with food, bedding and hygiene supplies.
Over the next 6 months, CRS will provide the following support to 30,000 families, with a commitment of $650,000 in private funds. Based on the evolving needs on the ground and our ability to identify additional resources, CRS and Caritas Iraq will expand these critical efforts to more families and communities in dire need.
Prayer for Peace and for Persecuted Christians in Iraq and the Middle East
God of Peace and Love,
we praise you and bless you for your goodness and your wisdom.
In these unstable times, many suffer severe and threatening danger,
leaving homes and losing families,
especially in Iraq, Syria, and Gaza.
Our brothers and sisters have lost hope.
We ask that their lives be spared, and that peace be restored in their homelands.
As the threat of ISIS and other military movements escalate the violence,
comfort the oppressed as we pray for peace.
As Pope Francis calls for peace, inspire world leaders with his hunger for international justice.
Help us continue to be strong witnesses of Christian love,
respecting and honoring peace in our own lives as we witness for others.
we are thankful for the possibility of living together without fear, in our country.
We give you glory for your gift of peace.
We seek courage and patience as our prayers rise up for peace in our troubled world.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
The USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace shares the prayer written by His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq. The USCCB Committee calls for Catholics to keep the quest for peace in their prayer intentions, especially praying for peace in the Middle East. There is a great humanitarian crisis in Iraq, which the Patriarch is responding to. Our Holy Father Pope Francis pleads for an end to violence throughout the world, calling for dialogue as the only path to peace.
(Patriarch Louis R. Sako’s Prayer follows)
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.
Glory be to you forever.