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     Home > Synod >  2010-10-17 13:39:11
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Intervention of Mrs. Anan J. LEWIS, Professor of Victorian and Modern English Poetry, English Department, University of Baghdad (IRAQ), auditor

Speaking as a consecrated virgin (Ordo Virginum) in Iraq, university professor and director of the youth in the Latin Church, representing the lay people of Iraq, I would 1ike to emphasize that besides security and political and social stability, nothing can give reasons for Iraqi Christians to stay and be deeply rooted to their land and faith unless sincere spiritual and pastoral care is initiated on the part of the fathers of the Church. Iraqi Christians are now in urgent need to be fed with love and embraced by the spiritual support of well trained and loving priests. Neither Sunday homilies nor Friday Catechist classes for children are enough to encourage lay people to stay. Instead of raising funds to renovate chapels or buy empty buildings, or decorate gates, let us build living stones and establish small projects for the youth of both genders to discover their crafty and professional skills. Holding meetings on regular basis for them and their families, enlightening them about their sacred role as consecrated lay people in Iraq is equally crucia1; otherwise, criticizing Protestant groups for tempting Catholics to leave their faith will be futile. And if all this sounds fanciful, paying them a visit might be helpful!
However, Iraqi lay Christians are aware that the Church is showing genuine efforts to deepen their faith and improve their social and economic situation within its capacity. They also know that this burden does not only lie on the Church's shoulders; the Iraqi government and the international community share lots of this burden, yet remain silent. Hence, living as an Iraqi Christian in the midst of severe conditions where every minute of safety counts. Nonetheless, Christian laity, specially those who have always been conscious to the importance of witnessing to their faith whether in time of peace or war, are persistent to be authentic witnesses, reinforcing their communion with the Church of which they are an integral part. Their role, which is becoming at times more influential than that of the clergy is embodied in helping the poor and the sick, organizing spiritual and social activities for elder and young people, establishing groups of prayers, teams of social and health services for those in need, as we have in the several Caritas programs, or helping their parish priests in the fields of Catechist teaching or liturgy. Such dedicated Christian men and women in Iraq are aware that their role is irreplaceable; though always in the face of death where every minute of safety counts, they are contributing to the fabric of the Iraqi society, endeavoring to work on behalf of all Christians who are dislocated, segregated, or shaken in faith, e1'eating a feeling of love and peaceful coexistence among Iraqis regardless of the religion or gender.

[00160-02.02] [UD020] [Original text: English]


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