Thousands of Christians in Africa and the Middle East, persecuted and displaced because of their faith, depend on the Church’s social and pastoral work – and the Church depends on you to continue helping them. Make a donation and bring the hope of Christmas to refugees!

82,4 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE ARE FORCIBLY DISPLACED

Each number is a life, a story of loss, trauma, and suffering

As we entered 2021, the number of forcibly displaced people due to persecution, conflict, violence, and human rights violations was the highest on record (according to UNHCR data).

Africa saw the highest increase of internally displaced, and Syria remains the country from which the greatest number of people has been forced to flee.

THIS CHRISTMAS WE CAN GIVE HOPE TO OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS

Through the local Church, ACN is supporting displaced families, attending to their basic needs, providing shelter, and seeing to the education of the children and youth. However, they also hunger for the healing power of the sacraments, for God’s Word and His love brought to them by those entrusted to continue His work among us. The presence and tireless efforts of the sisters, the priests, the catechists and all those working to build His Kingdom is a true source of consolation and hope. As they attend to their needs, they fill the hearts of the tired, traumatised, bereaved and the hungry with renewed faith – as well as the hope of a better future.

SYRIA

In a country still suffering from international sanctions and the destruction of 10 years of war, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped are left behind alone.

LEBANON

“As a child I became a refugee, just like the Child Jesus, who also had to flee together with his dad and his mum”.

BURKINA FASO

“It was during Sunday Mass. The jihadists entered the church with guns, surrounding us. They killed the priest and five parishioners right in front of our eyes.”

MOZAMBIQUE

Since 2017 Mozambique’s province of Cabo Delgado has been plagued by islamic extremism. More than 3,300 people have been killed and nearly a million displaced.

NIGERIA

The priests bring hope to more than 30,000 displaced people in Puka who had to flee their homes because of Boko Haram.

CONGO

In spite of the miserable conditions of the displaced camps in Goma, Christians want to celebrate Christmas with joy

“It was from here, from Syria, Palestine, Jordan and what is today Israel, that the first Christians came”, explains Fr. Hugo Alaniz, an Argentinian missionary priest of the Institute of the Word Incarnate who has been living in the Middle East for 26 years.

“I believe that it is an obligation for us, as a Church, to help the Christians of the Middle East. Not only because of the fact that this is the Holy Land, but because it is thanks to them that we came to know the Gospel message… Our appeal to the benefactors of ACN is ‘please don’t forget us, please don’t forget our communities here who still need outside help’… Whatever you can continue contributing will have great significance, especially for these people, who have lost everything, who continue to be in great need, who need your help”.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PROJECTS FOR THIS CHRISTMAS

Be supportive and bring the joy and hope of Christmas to our refugee brothers and sisters!
The different projects to help refugees which ACN supports in Africa and the Middle East aim to provide material and spiritual wellbeing to our Christian brothers and sisters – especially in this time of the year that we celebrate the coming of Christ. From food packages and medicines to scholarships and even small Christmas gifts for the children, we want to bring the hope of Christmas and joy to their hearts.
Providing safe drinking water to thousands of refugee. This project aims to build a borehole that will run on solar panels. It will be located in the town of Pulka, accessible from all camps, and therefore accessible to everybody.
Bringing words of hope and comfort to the refugees. Support for the production of faith programs for the benefit of displaced persons in the Diocese of Ouahigouya.
Catching up after having fled – 160 Iraqi pupils back to school. Education program for 160 Iraqi refugee children studying at Marka parish school.
Hot meals and spiritual accompaniment for refugees. "Saint John the Merciful Table" provides 1,500 daily hot meals to 900 Syrian refugees and 600 Lebanese in need in the Zahlé area and Bekaa Valley.
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Emergency help for refugees from Cabo Delgado. Provide 500 families with basic needs such as food, mosquito nets, soap, household items, farming tools and seeds.
Meals on wheels for those left behind. Equipment and implementation of the "Meals on Wheels” project to feed the elderly of the Latin Vicariate in Aleppo.
Your help is essential to keep the faith of our refugee brothers and sisters alive. Contribute to one of our projects and improve the lives of thousands of Christians relying on the support of the Church.
“In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help (cf. Mt 25:31-46). If we can recognize him in those faces, we will be the ones to thank him for having been able to meet, love and serve him in them”. Pope Francis, Message for the 106° World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organisation for war refugees and recognised as a Pontifical Foundation since 2011, Aid to the Church in Need is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, through information, prayer and action, wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or suffering material need.

The Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation is located on the outskirts of Aleppo. It is the furthest Catholic church from the east of the city, where the fighting was most intense during the war. Since its reopening in April 2018, it has been a sign of hope for many people who have decided to return home. In its basement, to support the faithful, the church has created a pastoral centre that offers courses and activities.

The priest in charge is Father Hugo Alaniz, IVE (Instituto del Verbo Encarnado) who is very active in Aleppo providing pastoral support as well as assistance to students and families. He has implemented relief and social assistance programmes that aim to alleviate or reverse conditions of poverty, marginalisation and vulnerability through various projects such as the provision of basic goods and commodities, medical assistance, small-scale home services and food distribution.

ACN wants to fund his project “Meals on Wheels project for the Elderly”. The need of the elderly in Aleppo is blatant as so many of them are alone and have no family to care for them. So many young or working age people have been displaced or simply left the country. The older, weaker family members have been left behind with barely any resources.
This project aims to feed 100 elderly people.

With 170 euros you can feed an elderly person living alone in Aleppo for 1 year.

The “St John the Merciful Table” project is a soup kitchen and its simple and quite practical goal is that nobody should go hungry. At the beginning of the project in 2015, they managed to provide 500 hot meals daily; the following year they already provided 1000 hot meals to Syrian refugees and local Lebanese people alike who would otherwise struggle to afford to feed themselves and their families. The current figures show that people are still so needy that the kitchen must serve an average of 1500 meals a day – more than ever before. 900 Syrian refugees and 600 Lebanese needy people benefit from this.

The initiative has a threefold value and a threefold objective: it provides a healthy, nutritious diet for those who could otherwise not afford it; it is a place of community and exchange for different people in similar situations, and it is likewise a place of spiritual accompaniment. A deacon is always present and is a permanent element of the project. No meal takes place without prayer. Apart from responding to the most urgent needs of vulnerable families and at the same time holding together an overburdened and overstressed society, this free meals service has an even deeper reason, namely the survival of Christianity in the Middle East. The hope is that both the Syrians and the Lebanese can be persuaded that they do indeed have a real future here.

ACN has been helping this work without interruption since its beginning in 2015.
With 41 euros you can feed a Syrian refugee or a Lebanese person in need for one month.

Father Jaar’s parish of “St. Mary of Nazareth” is located in the district of Marka in Amman, the capital of Jordan. His main concern is to care for the refugees who seek shelter from the situation in Syria and Iraq in the neighbouring country of Jordan. “In the Middle East we have a refugee crisis of epic proportions. Millions are on the run,” he says. For years Father Jaar has been helping to ensure that the refugees can lead a dignified existence. He knows what flight and expulsion mean: he was born in Bethlehem as the child of Palestinians and experienced this at first hand early on. In his parish he takes care of, on the one hand, those Iraqi families who fled to Syria years ago and have now lost everything yet again and, on the other, Christian families coming directly from Iraq who had to flee in 2014 after ISIS invaded the Nineveh plains.

Regularly the refugee families collect relief packages in the parish centre which include: basic foodstuffs such as rice, powdered milk, tea and sugar, as well as clothing and toys for the children.

One of the basic needs is the schooling of refugee children. They are often not registered in public schools: There is no space for them and the public schools refuse to enrol them, or the parents don’t have the formal papers to register their kids in these schools. In addition, they cannot afford the school fees, as these refugees are not allowed to work in Jordan, and cannot even cover their basic needs.

So Father Jaar also set up a free school for Iraqi refugee children in Marka. The school currently has 160 children between 6 and 16 attending classes during the week. Most of the children and their families fled from Iraq during the war and therefore lost many months of schooling.

The school has conducted several awareness sessions to the caregivers to speak about child protection and the importance of education during the COVID pandemic and online learning. “All the school staff attended training on how to use the online system during the pandemic, and all the students had their normal classes through ZOOM over the week.”

The monthly salary of a teacher is 240 euros.

Because of insecurity, in most parishes, priests, nuns and catechists can no longer go to villages to celebrate Mass and provide catechesis. As a result, the faithful are deprived of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and they can no longer follow catechesis. Pastoral activities are almost suspended. Staying alive is a challenge and evangelisation turns out to be an even greater challenge.

In Burkina Faso, the oral culture is very strong. Moreover, the rural population is illiterate and cannot read or write. This makes radio the primary instrument to communicate with the population, especially in rural areas. It is a powerful medium for conveying messages and changing behaviour. Most people reason and adopt attitudes according to what they hear through the media.

Father Victor Ouedraogo, director of the diocesan communication center Notre Dame du Sahel, writes to us: “It is important to spread messages that can calm hearts, reconcile communities and foster social cohesion. The production of the broadcasts will allow Christians and the entire population to hear the call of religious leaders to tolerance and living together. It will also enable the Catholic faithful to hear the Gospel and teachings despite the difficult context.”

This year again, in order to participate in the evangelisation and strengthening of the faith of Christians, especially displaced people, ACN decided to support this project

With 20 euros, you allow the diocese of Ouahigouya to maintain its pastoral activity by providing a radio and catechesis materials.

For many years, the supply of good quality water has been a problem for the population of Pulka. The area is mountainous and makes the construction of a well difficult and expensive. People often have to travel a long way to fetch water that is not necessarily of good quality. Many people suffer from cholera due to this non-potable water.

Such a borehole will reduce the hardship people face when they have to travel far to fetch water, reduce the risk of attacks, and provide good quality water and thus reduce the spread of disease.

ACN is committed to funding the construction of this borehole.

In Quelimane, there is a growing number of displaced persons from the towns attacked by Islamist terrorists in the north of Cabo Delgado province. Some of them have even come as far as Zambézia province, south of Nampula. The refugees have been welcomed in various districts of Quelimane

The bishop of Quelimane states that the terrorist operations are getting worse and worse, with greater incidence after 2020, making the diocese of Quelimane the best option for family accommodation” and the local population is sharing as much as possible. However, the diocese is struggling to care for the large influx of refugees. Even though Mozambique has made great progress in poverty reduction over the past years, the ongoing security crisis, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as natural disasters have put pressure on the local population and affect the coexistence between the locals and the refugees. It is feared that conflicts between the local population and the refugees will increase significantly or that more and more people could join the terrorists. The Church is therefore faced with the urgent task of contributing to the integration of the refugees and also providing more help to the local population.

With 32€ you can support one refugee family to buy food, mosquito nets, soap, household items, farming tools and seeds.

Was bedeutet der Besuch für Sie?
Der Besuch des Papstes ist das, was wir uns hier am meisten gewünscht haben. Es ist ein großer Segen. Wir spüren eine starke Sehnsucht, ihn zu sehen. Was diesen Besuch noch wichtiger macht, sind die äußerst prekären Bedingungen, unter denen wir Christen im Irak leiden. Es gibt mehrere Gründe für diese Zerbrechlichkeit. All die Folgen, die ISIS hinterlassen hat, diese enorme Zerstörung hat in großem Maße zur Auswanderung von Christen geführt. Viele Probleme lasten auf uns. Aber wenn er uns besucht, wird er uns Hoffnung, Zuversicht und Ermutigung geben und diese Last verringern. Auch wenn die Sicherheitslage im Irak, insbesondere die politische Situation, instabil ist, hoffen wir, dass bei der Ankunft des Papstes seine Sicherheit ausreichend gewährleistet ist.

 

Was würden Sie dem Heiligen Vater gerne sagen?
Ich möchte ihn bitten, mir seinen Segen zu geben, meinen Dienst und die Hingabe der Priester hier zu segnen und die Menschen durch seine Gebete zu segnen. Ich bitte ihn, all jenen zu helfen, die in diesem Land in Gefahr sind, ob sie nun Christen oder Muslime sind; und die Länder der Welt zu mobilisieren, um dieses Land, das Hilfe braucht, zu unterstützen.

Was möchten Sie ihm in Baghdida / Karakosch zeigen? Was sollte er besuchen?
Ich möchte, dass er die Al-Tahira-Kirche besucht, denn sie ist ein Symbol und Erbe von Baghdida. Diese Kirche ist die Mutter, die Heimat und das Vermächtnis eines jeden einzelnen Menschen in Baghdida. Unsere Vorfahren haben diese Kirche erbaut, wir alle fühlen uns als Teil von ihr. Sicherlich würden wir uns freuen, wenn er viele Orte, Kirchen, Klöster und traditionelle Häuser besuchen würde, und auch, wenn er viele Menschen treffen würde, die sich danach sehnen, ihn zu sehen.

Was bedeutet der Besuch für Sie?
Der Besuch hat einen moralischen Wert, keinen wirtschaftlichen. Er wird die öffentliche Meinung in der Welt und insbesondere im Irak beherrschen. Ich habe das Gefühl, dass ich einen wichtigen Anteil daran habe.

Was würden Sie dem Heiligen Vater gerne sagen?
Es wird großartig sein, ihn zu treffen, und ich möchte ihm sagen: „Wir brauchen internationalen Schutz, weil unsere christliche Gemeinschaft unter der erzwungenen Auswanderung gelitten hat“.

Was möchten Sie ihm in Baghdida /Karakosch zeigen? Was sollte er besuchen?
Ich möchte ihm die Kirchen und ausgebrannten Häuser zeigen, damit er den Schaden sieht, den ISIS in dieser Stadt angerichtet hat. Und auch unser Heimatmuseum in Baghdida, um ihm unsere Geschichte und Kultur näher zu bringen.

¿Qué significa la visita para usted?
La visita tiene un valor moral, no económico. Este tema ocupará la opinión pública en el mundo y especialmente en Irak. Siento que tengo un lugar importante en él.

 

¿Qué le gustaría decirle al santo padre?
Será genial conocerlo y querría decirle “necesitamos protección internacional, porque nuestra comunidad cristiana ha sufrido una migración forzada”.

¿Qué le gustaría mostrarle en Baghdeda /Qaraqosh? ¿Qué debería visitar?
Me gustaría mostrarle las iglesias y las casas quemadas, para que vea el daño que dejó ISIS en esta ciudad. Y también nuestro Museo del patrimonio de Baghdeda para presentarle nuestro historia y cultura.

Que signifie pour vous cette visite ?

Elle a une valeur morale, et non pas économique. Cette question occupera l’opinion publique mondiale, et tout spécialement irakienne. J’ai l’impression d’y tenir une place importante.

 

Qu’aimeriez-vous dire au Saint-Père ?

Ce sera formidable de faire sa connaissance, et je voudrais lui dire : « Nous avons besoin d’une protection internationale parce que notre communauté chrétienne a subi une migration forcée ».

Qu’aimeriez-vous lui montrer à Qaraqosh/Baghdeda ? Que devrait-il visiter ?

J’aimerais lui montrer les églises et les maisons brûlées, afin qu’il voie les dégâts que l’État Islamique a laissés derrière lui dans cette ville. Et aussi notre Musée du patrimoine de Baghdeda pour lui présenter notre histoire et notre culture.

What does the visit mean to you?
The papal visit is the thing we have longed for most of all here. It will be a great blessing. We have a great yearning to see him. What gives added importance to this visit is the so very vulnerable situation that we are suffering as Christians in Iraq. There are many reasons for this vulnerability, including the aftermath of what IS left behind, the enormous destruction which has led in such large measure to the emigration of the Christians. There are many problems weighing on us. But when he comes to visit us, he will give us new hope and confidence and some relief from this burden. In addition there is the fact that the security situation in Iraq, and especially the political situation, is so unstable, so we are hoping that when the Pope does arrive they will guarantee his security in the way that they should.

 

What would you like to say to the Holy Father?
I would like to ask him to give me his blessing, to bless my ministry and the hard work of all the priests here, and also to bless all the people through his prayers. I would ask him to help all those in danger in this country, whether they are Christians or Muslims. And that he might strive to encourage the countries of the world to support this nation, which is truly in need.

What would you like to show him in Qaraqosh/ Baghdeda? What places ought he to visit?
I would love him to visit the Al-Tahira church, because it is a symbol and a rich cultural legacy of Baghdeda. This church is the mother, the home and the inheritance of every one of the inhabitants of Baghdeda. Our forefathers built this church, and we all feel we are a part of it. Of course, we would be happy for him to visit many different places – churches, monasteries and traditional homes – and also for him to be able to meet all the many people who are longing to see him.

What does the Pope’s visit mean to you?
The papal visit will lift up our spirits and morale more than anything else. All the eyes of the world will be on Baghdeda. And in this way the world will know what happened to this city. The terrible destruction and the forcible ethnic cleansing. It will also be a good thing if afterwards we get more support and help. This visit is really important to us, to those of us who are living here, especially after the massive ethnic cleansing and expulsion of so many of us. His visit means that we are not alone and that there are people who are praying for us. This will give us fresh hope and encourage us to persevere, here on our own soil, and not leave it.

What would you like to say to the Holy Father?
If I get the opportunity to meet him, I would like to be able to thank him for his visit, which has made us very happy, and for his prayers. I would also like to thank him for all he has done to help us in recent times. I have not forgotten his great gesture of solidarity in auctioning the Lamborghini in order to use the money to help pay for the reconstruction of our homes on the Niniveh plains. I would also like to ask him to continue praying for us and for peace to return to Iraq.

What would you like to show him in Qaraqosh/ Baghdeda? Which places should he visit?
I would like to show him our historic Al-Tahira church, and some photos of Baghdeda. I’d like him to be able to see how it was destroyed by IS and how the people here have worked so hard recently to rebuild it once more.

¿Qué significa la visita para usted?
La visita del Papa es lo que más hemos deseado aquí. Es una gran bendición. Sentimos un gran anhelo de verlo. Lo que agrega importancia a esta visita son las condiciones tan vulnerables que sufrimos los cristianos en Irak. Hay varios motivos para esa fragilidad, todas las secuelas que ha dejado el ISIS, esa enorme destrucción ha llevado en gran medida a la emigración de cristianos. Muchos problemas pesan sobre nosotros. Pero cuando nos visite, nos dará esperanza, confianza y aliento y reducirá esta carga. Además del hecho de que la situación de seguridad en Irak, especialmente la política, es inestable, se espera que a la llegada del Papa se garantice su seguridad de manera correcta.

¿Qué le gustaría decirle al santo padre?
Querría pedirle que me dé su bendición, que bendiga mi servicio y la entrega de los sacerdotes aquí y que bendiga al pueblo a través de sus plegarias. Le pido que ayude a todos los que están en peligro en este país, ya sean cristianos o musulmanes. Que intente movilizar a los países del mundo para que apoyen a este país que necesita ayuda.

 ¿Qué le gustaría mostrarle en Baghdeda / Qaraqosh? ¿Qué debería visitar?
Me encantaría que visite la iglesia Al-Tahira, porque es símbolo y patrimonio de Baghdeda. Esta iglesia es madre, hogar y herencia de cada uno de los habitantes de Baghdeda. Nuestros antepasados ​​construyeron esta iglesia, todos nos sentimos parte de ella. Ciertamente, nos alegraría que visitara muchos lugares, iglesias, monasterios y casas tradicionales,  también que vea a muchas personas que anhelan verlo.

Qu’est-ce que cette visite signifie pour vous ?

La visite du Pape est ce que nous désirions le plus ici. C’est une grande bénédiction. Nous avons un grand désir de le voir. Ce qui rajoute de l’importance à cette visite, c’est la situation de vulnérabilité que nous, chrétiens, subissons en Irak. Il y a plusieurs raisons à cette fragilité, toutes sont les séquelles de l’État Islamique. Toutes ces destructions ont grandement contribué à l’émigration des chrétiens. De nombreux problèmes pèsent sur nous. Mais par sa visite, le Pape nous donnera de l’espérance et de la confiance, il nous encouragera et réduira notre fardeau. Bien que la situation soit instable en Irak en ce qui concerne la sécurité, tout spécialement dans le domaine politique, on s’attend à ce qu’à l’arrivée du Pape, sa sécurité soit correctement assurée.

Qu’aimeriez-vous dire au Saint-Père ?

Je voudrais lui demander de me donner sa bénédiction, de bénir mon travail et le dévouement des prêtres d’ici, et de bénir le peuple par ses prières. Je voudrais lui demander d’aider tous ceux qui sont en danger dans ce pays, qu’ils soient chrétiens ou musulmans. Qu’il tente de mobiliser les pays du monde entier pour soutenir ce pays qui a besoin d’aide.

Qu’aimeriez-vous lui montrer à Qaraqosh/Baghdeda ? Que devrait-il visiter ?

J’aimerais qu’il visite l’église Al-Tahira, parce que c’est un symbole et un élément du patrimoine de Baghdeda. Cette église est la mère, le foyer et le patrimoine de chacun des habitants de Baghdeda. Nos ancêtres ont construit cette église, nous avons tous le sentiment d’en faire partie. Bien sûr, nous serions heureux qu’il visite de nombreux endroits, des églises, monastères et maisons traditionnelles, et qu’il rencontre également beaucoup de gens qui ont le désir de le voir.

Was bedeutet der Besuch für Sie?
Der Besuch des Papstes wird die Stimmung und die Moral heben, mehr als alles andere. Alle Augen der Welt werden auf Baghdida gerichtet sein. Dann wird die Welt erfahren, was mit dieser Stadt passiert ist, die schreckliche Zerstörung und die erzwungene Migration. Es wäre auch gut, wenn wir anschließend mehr Hilfe und Unterstützung bekommen würden. Dieser Besuch ist wirklich wichtig für uns hier, besonders nach der großen Zwangsmigration so vieler unserer Leute. Der Besuch bedeutet, dass wir nicht allein sind, und dass es Menschen gibt, die für uns beten. Das wird uns Hoffnung geben, es wird uns ermutigen, in unserem Land zu bleiben und es nicht zu verlassen.

Was würden Sie dem Heiligen Vater gerne sagen?
Wenn ich die Gelegenheit habe, ihn zu treffen: Ich möchte ihm für seinen Besuch, der uns sehr glücklich macht, und für sein Gebet danken. Ich möchte mich auch bei ihm für alles bedanken, was uns in der letzten Zeit geholfen hat. Ich werde nie seine große Solidarität vergessen sowie die Geste, den Lamborghini zu versteigern (siehe Link zur Meldung), um mit diesem Geld den Wiederaufbau der Ninive-Ebene zu unterstützen. Ich möchte auch, dass er weiterhin für uns betet, damit im Irak Frieden einkehrt.

Was möchten Sie ihm in Baghdida /Karakosch zeigen? Was sollte er besuchen?
Ich möchte ihm die historische Al-Tahira-Kirche zeigen und Bilder von Baghdida, ich möchte, dass er sieht, wie alles von ISIS zerstört wurde und welcher Kraft die Menschen hier es wiederaufgebaut haben.

¿Qué significa la visita para usted?
La visita del Papa levantará el ánimo y la moral, más que cualquier otra cosa. Todos los ojos del mundo se dirigirán a Baghdeda. Así, el mundo sabrá lo que le sucedió a esta ciudad. La terrible destrucción y la migración forzada. También sería bueno si luego recibimos más ayuda y apoyo. Esta visita es realmente importante para nosotros, los que estamos aquí, especialmente después de la enorme migración forzada de tantos de los nuestros. La visita significa que no estamos solos y hay quienes rezan por nosotros. Esto nos dará esperanza, nos animará a permanecer en nuestra tierra y no dejarla.

¿Qué le gustaría decirle al santo padre?
Si tengo la oportunidad de encontrarme con él: quiero agradecerle su visita, que nos hace muy felices, y su oración. También quiero darle las gracias por todo lo que nos ha ayudado durante el último periodo. No me olvido de su gran solidaridad y del gesto de subastar el Lamborghini para apoyar con ese dinero la reconstrucción de la llanura de Nínive. También quiero que siga orando por nosotros para que la paz llegue a Irak.

¿Qué le gustaría mostrarle en Baghdeda /Qaraqosh? ¿Qué debería visitar?
Quiero mostrarle la histórica iglesia Al-Tahira y fotos de Baghdeda, quiero que vea cómo fue destruida por ISIS y cómo la gente de aquí ha sido tan fuerte para reconstruirla nuevamente.

Que signifie pour vous cette visite ?

La visite du Pape nous remontera le moral, plus que toute autre chose. Tous les yeux de la planète seront dirigés vers Baghdeda. Le monde saura ainsi ce qui est arrivé à cette ville : les terribles destructions et la migration forcée. Ce serait également bien si nous recevions ensuite un peu plus d’aide et de soutien. Cette visite est très importante pour nous qui sommes ici, surtout après l’énorme migration forcée de tant des nôtres. Cette visite signifie que nous ne sommes pas seuls et qu’il y a des gens qui prient pour nous. Cela nous donnera de l’espoir, nous encouragera à rester dans notre pays et à ne pas le quitter.

Qu’aimeriez-vous dire au Saint-Père ?

Si j’ai l’occasion de le rencontrer, je voudrais le remercier pour sa visite qui nous rend très heureux, et pour ses prières. Je tiens également à le remercier pour toute l’aide qu’il nous a procurée ces derniers temps. Je n’oublie pas sa grande solidarité et le geste qu’il a fait en vendant aux enchères la Lamborghini qu’on lui avait donnée pour soutenir avec l’argent récolté la reconstruction de la plaine de Ninive. Je voudrais aussi qu’il continue à prier pour nous afin que la paix arrive en Irak.

Qu’aimeriez-vous lui montrer à Qaraqosh/Baghdeda ? Que devrait-il visiter ?

Je voudrais lui montrer l’église historique Al-Tahira et des photos de Baghdeda, je voudrais qu’il voie comment l’État Islamique l’a détruite et comment les gens d’ici ont eu le courage de la reconstruire.

What does this visit mean to you?
This visit has a moral value rather than an economic one. This is a topic that will engage public opinion around the world and especially in Iraq. I feel as though I have an important part to play in it.

What would you like to say to the Holy Father?

It would be wonderful to be able to meet him, and I would like to be able to say to him, “We need international protection, because our Christian community was forcibly displaced.”

What would you like to show him in Qaraqosh/ Baghdeda? What places should he visit?
I would like to be able to show him the churches and houses that were burnt out, so that he could see the destruction left behind by IS in this city. And also our Baghdeda Heritage Museum, so that we can show him our history and culture.