We have all followed in the news what the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue has described as the “dramatic plight of Christians, Yezidis and other religious communities and ethnic minorities in Iraq.” Two weeks ago, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher called on parishioners in this diocese to pray for this situation, to call on our political leaders to come to the assistance of those in crisis, and to provide financial support to help the victims of the persecution in Iraq. A group of about 20 parishioners took up Archbishop Durocher’s invitation and came together to plan an approach for St. Mark’s. As a result, here are some of the activities we are planning:
- A Holy Hour of Prayer, consisting of Eucharistic Adoration with hymns and prayers for peace in Iraq on Sunday, September 7 immediately following the 11:00 Mass.
- A second collection will be taken up at all the Masses on Sunday, September 7. That collection will be evenly distributed among three Catholic organizations providing aid in this situation: Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the Catholic Near-East Welfare Association – Canada, and Aid to the Church in Need – Canada.
- A letter re situation in Iraq has been drafted to send to our political leaders. A copy of this letter will be made available at the entrances to the church on August 31 and September 7.
- There is a rally in support of persecuted Iraqi Christians to be held on Parliament Hill, Saturday, September 6 from 1:00 to 3:00. We encourage parishioners to participate in that rally to show our solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters in Iraq.
- A few parishioners are interested in finding out more about the possibility of having our parish sponsor a refugee family. If you are interested in helping them explore this option, please leave your name at the parish office.
The plight of the persecuted minorities in Iraq is magnified by feeling forgotten by the international community. Let us stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, in whatever way we can.