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“Where there are religious, there is joy” Pope Francis

Religious life is the beating heart of the Church. It impacts the lives of so many around the world. The extraordinary women who embrace the Gospel and answer the call to go “and proclaim the Good News to all creation” (Mk 16:15) are the witness of God’s sublime and boundless love. From Kazakhstan to Peru, from Syria to Rwanda, they do this thanks to the same Spirit which inspires, the same Gospel which is lived and announced, the same Jesus who is present in the little ones. The Sisters are the living witnesses of God’s love, but they need our prayers and financial support for their mission. Be part of their story!

Religious Sisters’ worldwide

More than 600 thousand women have made the choice to totally surrender their lives to God in prayer and help to others.

*according to the Church’s book of statistics from 31.12.2016

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1 out of 60 Sisters worldwide was supported by ACN in 2018

ACN supports religious Sisters around the world to enable them to continue with their mission, and it is only possible thanks to you.

In 2018 ACN supported

Testimonials

In a polarized society, where different cultures experience difficulty in living alongside one another, where the powerless encounter oppression, where inequality abounds, consecrated people are called to offer a concrete model of community which, by acknowledging the dignity of each person and sharing our respective gifts, makes it possible to live as brothers and Sisters.

Pope Francis

Text from the apostolic letter to all consecrated people

Pope Francis receiving a candle from the benefactors of ACN through Sister Annie Demerjan from Aleppo, Syria, on 1 December 2018.

Pope Francis receiving a candle from the benefactors of ACN through Sister Annie Demerjan from Aleppo, Syria, on 1 December 2018.

In a polarized society, where different cultures experience difficulty in living alongside one another, where the powerless encounter oppression, where inequality abounds, consecrated people are called to offer a concrete model of community which, by acknowledging the dignity of each person and sharing our respective gifts, makes it possible to live as brothers and Sisters.

Pope Francis

Text from the apostolic letter to all consecrated people

“I invite you all, together with ACN, to do everywhere in the world, a work of mercy.”

Contact

ACN International
Aid to the Church in Need gGmbH
Bischof Kindermann Straße 23, Königstein in Taunus, 61462 HE Germany
Ph.: +49-6174-291-0

As a Pontifical Foundation, Aid to the Church in Need has the mandate to act on behalf of the Church.

Copyright: ACN Aid to the Church in Need International
ACN – Aid to the Church in Need gGmbH, HRB 8446 is non-profit organization officially registered in Germany and audited internationally by KPMG.

Sister Samia Syiej / Syria

Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary

© ACN

Community

Sister Samia Syiej - Syria

The congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary was created in 1874, in Lebanon. However, its origins date to the 1850’s when Jesuits missionaries where evangelizing the region. Previously the female religious life in the Orient was associated with cloistered monasteries. Nonetheless, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary are active in their local communities. The congregation is active in Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, and Chad. Their vocation is to “be in the world bearing witness of Jesus Christ for those who believe in God and also for those who do not.” To bear witness of faith, the religious Sisters of the congregation seek the Magis, Majorem Dei Gloriam: the more, the better, the greater for God. “I chose to join the congregation because it serves people. Every little thing we do is for the greater glory of God. One of the Sisters in my community often says that we have to serve the Christ in others with humility until there is nothing left of us and all is left is Him,” said Sister Samia.

Vocation

Sister Samia Syiej - Syria

“I understood my calling to religious life at a very early age,” recalled Sister Samia Jreij. She was born and raised in Uzeir, an Arabic village in the Northern part of Israel. Her family was Christian and very committed to the Church. “It was my mother who taught me how to pray. She was also the one who taught me the love for Jesus,” she said. “The house I grew up in was close to a church. I remember we could hear the bells,” she adds. As a little girl, Sister Samia used to spend a long time in the church: “I entered the congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in 2000. I remember my father’s words when I told him about my decision of embracing the religious life. He said: ‘how blessed am I to present one of my own flesh and blood to God. Your vocation is a gift from God.’ His words were full of faith, and they are still resonating in my heart.”

Sister Mary Colum Tarawali / Sierra Leone

Congregation of Clarissan Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament

© ACN

Community

Sister Mary Colum Tarawali“Missionary par excellence” that is the charism of the Clarissan Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. As a missionary congregation, they are present in 15 countries around the world: Mexico, Japan, USA, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Korea, India, Russia, Argentina, and Vietnam. The Sisters first came to Nigeria in the 1970s, soon after the civil war that devastated the country. A few years later, when the Sisters arrived in Sierra Leone, education was forbidden for girls. They started a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of education. They built schools, and workshops to provide girls with handcraft skill that could be useful as a source of income.

Sister Mari Graciana / Peru

Congregation Misionarias de Jesús Verbo y Victima

© ACN

Misson

Sister Mari Graciana

I believe God has given us a heart larger than any mother’s,” said Sister Mari. Every day, she and another sister travel long distances to visit the families in her diocese in Peru. “Sometimes we come across a good deal of unhappiness in families, our visit bears them comfort, and they say they feel blessed because we took some of our time to be with them. On Fridays, we bring the Holy Communion for aged people. It is a special moment. Most of them have reduced mobility, and they recall being able to go to the Church on their own. I often answer: ‘now, you do not have to. Your friend has come to visit you. Do you know him? Yes. Jesus has come to you!’” added Sister Mari joyfully. Besides visiting the aged people, she also looks after adolescents. “I remember once one teenager did a prank. I called him and censured him: ‘What you did was wrong. I love you very much, but I will not tolerate it’. He stared at me and asked: ‘Madre, do you really love me?’ It touched me. It made me realize how important it is to show affection because they often do not receive it from their families,” said Sister Mari.

Community

Sister Mari Graciana

Founded by Mgr. Federico Kaiser in 1961 in Peru the congregation Missionaries of Jesus Word and Victim is active in Latin America. Their mission is to grant pastoral care most especially in remote zones. “We fight against the most dreadful enemies of humankind: ignorance and sin. They have gained so much space because people are without spiritual leaders,” states their mission. The apostolate of the Sisters is in places where there is no priest. They offer spiritual comfort for those in need. They preach the Word of the Lord. They teach the Catechism. “I knew I belonged to this congregation when the Sisters explained to me their mission and charism. They described to me their work and their pastoral activities. From the beginning, I felt in my heart that I belonged with them. We visit the families in their houses on a daily basis. On special occasions, for instance, a patron’s feast, we visit the villages,” explained Sister Mari.

Vocation

Sister Mari Graciana

“I remember when I was 13, and my teacher asked me: ‘have you ever thought about becoming a religious sister?’ To be honest, until that moment I had not. Afterward, I started to consider it very much,” said Sister Mari Graciana. “I spent many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, asking our Lord what he wanted from me. Although I prayed more than other girls of my age, I did not think I was any different from them,” adds her. When she was a child, Sister Mari used to go to a Catholic school run by religious Sisters. She was raised in a Catholic family who taught her Christian values. At the moment she was sure about her vocation, her mother was very supportive. “She said there was no life more beautiful than the one lived closed to God. From the beginning my mother was happy, and in peace knowing I had made the right choice”, explained Sister Mari.

Sister Rita Kurochkina / Kazakhstan

Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

© ACN

Mission

Sister Rita lives and works in the house of St. Clara, in Kapshagay, Kazakhstan. There she and two other sisters run an orphanage. They currently take care of 18 children who came from dysfunctional families. Many of them had experienced violence, ran from home and ended up homeless. “Originally we came from different families, but God has united us, and we are one family now. We are always with our children, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We do everything a mother would do at home,” says Sister Rita. The religious prepare meals; do laundry; take children to kindergarten, to school, and to extracurricular activities; they help them with the homework; share the household chores to teach them responsibility; and, of course, they pray together. “Every single day with our children is full of adventures. My greatest joy will be to see them grow up to be good persons,” adds Sister Rita.

Community

Sister Rita Kurochkina

“I chose this congregation specifically because of the Virgin Mary. Beginning at a very early age, Mary has always come first to me,” said Sister Rita. The order of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded in Poland in the 1850s. To this day, the congregation is primarily active in Poland, but can also be found in a number of Eastern European countries, such as Kazakhstan. The religious sisters run schools, kindergartens and children’s homes in most of the places they are present. In Kapshagay, Kazakhstan, one of the missions of the religious is taking care of children. It began in 2001 with an Italian priest who established a Catholic center in the outskirts of the city. Once he had settled there, he started offering soup for the community, and he realized that many children were coming for the hot meal. He understood that those children had fled from their homes. Therefore, he asked the sisters to take care of them.

Vocation

Sister Rita Kurochkina

Sister Rita Kurochkina made the decision to become a religious sister ten years ago. She was born and raised in a family that did not practice the faith. At the age of 14, she took the initiative to prepare for baptism. “From that day on, I went to Holy Mass every single day,” she said. When she decided to enter the convent, her mother did not approve and refused to give her consent. Sister Rita did not want to enter the congregation without her mother’s permission. It took her one year, after being far from home taking care of her aunt to finally receive the authorization of her mother. “My mother changed her opinion somewhat when she realized that I would lead a normal life. She saw how miserable I was for not being able to join the congregation and now she sees how happy I am,” she explained.

Mission

Sister CécireA few years ago in Rwanda, there used to be big families, and family members used to take care of each other, explained Sister Bellancilla. This tradition has changed. Many aged people live alone now because their children live in the city, others have lost their children during the genocide. “Since I was a child I dreamt of taking care of elderly people,” said Sister Cécire. “God has chosen me to do this job,” she adds. The eight Sisters in Masaka work at a health-center, kindergarten, schools, and they also visit people in their houses. “Our people suffer from the consequences of the war. We lost so much, it affects us until now. There are many orphans, many aged people abandoned, many families destroyed, this is why we have to spread the love of God. If we loved each other as Jesus did, we would be willing to help the poor, the sick, the most in need. Love is the most important thing for a person to be free and happy,” said Sister Bellancila.

Community

Sister CécireSaint Vicent Pallotti the precursor of Catholic Action and founder of the Pallottines allocated great sums for the underprivileged. He built guilds for workers, agriculture schools, loan associations, orphanages, and homes for girls. His mission was to save as many souls as possible for Christ.  “Our founder was a very holy man. He helped the simple, the poor, the orphans, and the sick. Many young people feel attracted by our charisma. They want to join the congregation because they are impressed by the work the Sisters do in the community. Moreover, they feel the joy and the love with which the Sisters do everything,” explained Sister Bellancilla. Sister Cécire was one of those who felt deeply touched by the life of Saint Pallotti. “He did not put any limits to help people. His example was what motivated me to become a Pallotine Sister. Offering my life to others is my way of thanking God,” said the Sister.

Vocation

Sister Cécire“I could have led a different life. I could have married. I could have had children,” said Sister Cécire. The 49-year-old woman from Masaka, in Uganda, has three sisters and one brother. When she told her family her decision of embracing the call of the Lord, they were not pleased. She renounced her professional carrier to become a religious Sister. As hard as it was, Sister Cécire said the difficulties strengthened her vocation as well as her faith. “I could have had a family, but it would not be enough for me. The love in me is greater. The love of God floods me, and it overflows. I feel free to love everybody. My family is bigger than blood ties. My family is my whole village,” she said. “When you love, and you do everything with love you do not feel tired because you are happy to share what you have received,” she adds.

Sister Klara Sviderska / Ukraine

Congregation of St. Benedict

© ACN

Mission

Sister Klara Sviderska

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks to God at every moment. This is the will of God, your vocation as Christians,” (1Thes 5:16-18). The monastic charism of the Benedictine order bears witness to this Christian vocation. Round the clock, they pray and work to better praise and serve the Lord. At the contemplative monastery of St. Benedict in Zytomierz, the religious Sisters live cloistered, and Sister Klara explains: “we are not completely cut off from the world because our prayers connect us to the whole world. We pray for the people of all nations. We stay inside praying to help the people outside.” The Sister also shares a piece of advice: “People should read the Bible more often, should listen to God more often, should fall in love with Him. Poverty is not only material, but it is also when we do not listen to God. We are poor when we do what our human nature tells us to do. To live with God is to be rich. He is light. The more we listen to Him the more His light shines on us.”

Community

Sister Klara Sviderska

“Normally no one would choose to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience to God. It is a call. Our vocation is not a choice, but a response to the calling of the Lord,” said Sister Klara. The Benedictine religious live according to The Rule of Saint Benedict, which provides teaching about the basic monastic virtues as well as directives for daily living. “Our first duty is prayer. It accompanies several other responsibilities, for instance, community life. We have two special vows. One called stabilitas loci, which means we vow to live permanently in one place. The other is the moral conversion, we live solely as God advises us,” explains Sister Klara. Although the Sisters do not take a vow of silence, hours of strict silence are set, and at other times silence is maintained as much as possible. “One must know how to live with oneself,” said the Sister. In their community, the 18 Sisters that live in the monastery lead a humble life of silence and prayer.

Vocation

Sister Klara Sviderska

Born in a Catholic family in Ukraine, Sister Klara Sviderska has two brothers, one that has also embraced the religious life like her, and another who has a wife and children. It has been 21 years that she lives in the monastery in Zytomierz before she used to practice medicine. “I was a regular girl, happy and fun-loving. I always wanted to have a family, a good husband, and many children. Now I have it. I used to go to the Holy Mass every day, praying for a husband. Once during Adoration, I grasped that I should take Jesus as my fiancé. Nevertheless, it took me two years to make a commitment,” said Sister Klara. “I never wanted to live in a closed monastery. I never thought I would. One day it became clear to me that I should offer Jesus what He had offered me first, my life. I should not live as I wished but according to His will” adds the Sister.

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.

¿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.

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.

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.

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.

¿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.

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.

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.

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.

¿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.

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.

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.