Iraq: – A prayer for the return of the families to their homes

Lord and God, Hear today the cry of your children, now scattered to the four winds and forced to seek shelter in foreign lands. Hear the prayers of your people on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the land of Abraham, who since the beginnings of Christianity have not ceased to praise and glorify your Name. Throughout the centuries no day has passed there on which the Holy Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of your Son was not celebrated. Without interruption, the sound of the bells and the singing of their hymns have risen up to you, together with the smoke of the incense that was offered in your Name. Yet now this sacrifice of praise has become for many a Way of the Cross on which for your Name’s sake they have been driven from their homes and robbed of their possessions and their happiness. For the sake of your Name many have even shed their blood. Their sacrifice has become one with the Sacrifice of your Son on Golgotha. The persecutors, with their guns and their their raging violence, seemed to have triumphed; death and mourning seemed to have had the last word. It seemed as though their end had come. Yet today, Lord of history and Shepherd of your people, the hour of liberation has come. Those who desecrated your sanctuary, who destroyed the crosses and sacred images, who persecuted and expelled your faithful, are now gone. Grant your people now the grace of returning to those places where the tree of their life is deeply rooted. Grant that this tree may bear fruits of peace and enable your people to restore the honour of your Name in those places you gave to them and to their ancestors, and preserve this land for future generations also, so that the praise of your Name may never cease in their churches and in their families. We ask you this, O God, lover of mankind, through the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Mother of God, of the martyrs of the Niniveh Plain and of all who have borne witness to you by their blood. Amen.
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