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IRAQ CRISIS: Show YOUR solidarity

St Joseph's Church - Refugees eating breakfast in Ankawa, Erbil.St Joseph's Church - Refugees who have fled to Ankawa, Erbil.St Joseph's Church - Refugees who have fled to Ankawa, Erbil.St Joseph's Church - Refugees who have fled to Ankawa, Erbil.Ankawa Sport Centre where c.1,000 refugees are sheltering in Erbil.Refugees are also gathering at Erbil's  Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.Refugees are also gathering at Erbil's Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.Refugees are also gathering at Erbil's Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.

St Joseph's Church - Refugees eating breakfast in Ankawa, Erbil.

St Joseph's Church - Refugees who have fled to Ankawa, Erbil.

St Joseph's Church - Refugees who have fled to Ankawa, Erbil.

St Joseph's Church - Refugees who have fled to Ankawa, Erbil.

Ankawa Sport Centre where c.1,000 refugees are sheltering in Erbil.

Refugees are also gathering at Erbil's Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.

Refugees are also gathering at Erbil's Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.

Refugees are also gathering at Erbil's Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.

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Please donate to Iraq. Logo: Aid to the Church in Need

Please donate to Iraq

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Top story: IRAQ: "There is still hope for the Christians in Iraq, but only if we act now"

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Death and sickness are grabbing the children and elderly people among the thousands of refugee families spread over the Kurdistan Region who lost everything in the recent tragic development while the ISIS militants are still advancing and the humanitarian aid is insufficient.

There are seventy thousand displaced Christians in Ankawa along with the other minorities in this city that has a population of more than twenty-five thousand Christians. The families who found shelter inside the churches or schools are in a rather good condition while those who are still sleeping in the streets and public parks are in a deplorable situation ….

“In Dohuk, the number of Christian refugees amount to more than 60,000 and their situation is worse than those in Erbil… the human needs are escalating: housing, water, medicine and funds….. The Churches are offering everything within their capacity.” Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako – Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, President of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops in Iraq.

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Over the weekend of 9-10 August 2014, Patriarch Sako was in constant touch, updating Aid to the Church in Need on the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Although Kurdish troops have made some gains, the impact of the exodus of over 100,000 Christians following the fall of Qaraqosh to ISIS in early August is beginning to hit home. Resources are stretched to the limit and the death toll is rising. ACN has just sent an emergency contribution of US$ 130,000 (£80,000), with the promise of more to come, with the generous support of our benefactors and friends. Can you help? YOUR prayers and YOUR contributions will make a difference – a gift of faith and love.

 To read Patriarch Sako’s emergency SOS from last week, please scroll down.

“I appeal for your prayers so that God may show the people of Iraq his infinite mercy – comfort the mourners, bind their wounds and heal the broken-hearted in those biblical lands that have been a cradle of civilisation.”  Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton  – Chair of the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales’ Department of InternationalAffairs

The ancient Christian community in Iraq is being decimated. People are fleeing for their lives ahead of acts of terror by ISIS (now Islamic State) and their avowed ambition of ridding Iraq of the hated Christian presence and of eradicating an Iraqi community with a 2,000 year-old heritage.

In a situation that seems hopeless and where political intervention is proving fruitless, PRAYER is our most powerful resource

Please join ACN’s global campaign of prayer and solidarity by standing with our brothers and sisters in Iraq by saying “I am Iraqi, I am Christian.”

EMERGENCY SOS FROM CHALDEAN PATRIARCH, LOUIS SAKO – PRESIDENT OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS IN IRAQ – 07 August 2014

On 7 August ACN received an urgent message from Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad. Overnight Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town, and surrounding villages on the Niniveh Plains fell to ISIS (now Islamic State) and up to 100,000 Christians are evacuated on foot, leaving everything behind them. The Patriarch calls it “an exodus, a real via crucis”.

He said, “The ISIS militants attacked with mortars most of the villages of the plain of Niniveh, during the night of 6 -7 August 2014 and now they are controlling the area. The Christians, about 100,000, horrified and panicked, fled their villages and houses [with] nothing but... the clothes on their backs. An exodus, a real via crucis, Christians are walking on foot in Iraq’s searing summer heat towards the Kurdish cities of Erbil, Duhok and Soulaymiyia, the sick, the elderly, infants and pregnant women among them. They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need water, food, shelter…

“Regarding the churches and church properties in the villages now being occupied by the ISIS militants, we have reports of destruction and desecration. The old manuscripts and documents are being burnt.”

In desperation he concluded, “We appeal with sadness and pain to the conscience of all and all people of good will and the United Nations and the European Union, to save these innocent persons from death. We hope it is not too late!”

At this moment in history when Christianity in Iraq stands on the brink of extinction, ACN needs your help. Your prayers and your efforts WILL make a difference.

In the days before the Patriarch’s plea, Aid to the Church in Need, worked with the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, calling for personal and parish prayer for the Church in Iraq. Please download our Prayer for Peace in IraqSolidarity Poster and our Bidding Prayer and other resources from the resources section and Like and Share them via Facebook.

If we work together and share information with our networks we can create a groundswell of prayerful solidarity for the Christians of Iraq and all those caught up in this disaster. Please help.

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to all of our ACN benefactors who so generously and loyally offer support when they can. If, at this moment, you feel you are in a position to reach out to the stricken community in Iraq, a gift - no matter how small - will be an act of love and compassion and helps us to provide emergency aid.

Let us stand by our brothers and sisters by saying ‘I am Iraqi, I am Christian.’

Thank you and God Bless. 

PRAYER RESOURCES 

  • Please circulate and pray this Prayer for Peace in Iraq 
  • Please read this letter from Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako – of Bablyon of the Chaldeans and President of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops in Iraq, calling for Christians to pray and peace.  
  • Please read this letter from Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, Chairman of the International Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.  
  • Please use this Bidding Prayer in your parish or group: "We pray for Christians and other faith communities persecuted in Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq. We pray that their faith may help them in their tribulations and their search for sanctuary, so they may then receive compassion and care. Composed by Bishop Declan Lang.
  • Please view ACN's Iraq Crisis Facebook album.
  • Please download our range of posters for display in your parish or groups or to like and share via Facebook

I am an Iraqi, I am a Christian. Photo: Aid to the Church in Need

Poster one: "I am a Christian"

Help us to remain in our country! Iraq needs you. Photo: Aid to the Church in Need 

Poster two: Help us to remain in our country! Iraq needs you

Help us live in peace! Iraqi Christians need you!

Poster three: Help us live in peace! Iraqi Christians need you!

Help us remain in our country. Iraq needs you!

Poster four - Help us remain in our country! Iraq needs you

Pray for the peace in our country Iraq needs you!

Poster five: Pray for the peace in our country! Iraq needs you

"Iraq: Give Solidarity a face" microsite

  • Chillingly, ISIS terror groups daubed the Arabic letter ‘N’, denoting Nazarene (Christian) on the doors of Iraqi Christians to terrorise and intimidate them. Christians face simple choices – convert to Islam, pay the Jizya Tax (imposed on all non-Muslims) or die.
  • Together, Aid to the Church in Need around the world is inviting Catholics and Christians to identify with the plight of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East.  If you zoom in closely enough on our Iraq: Give Solidarity a face microsite, you will see that the giant Arabic letter "N" is made up of hundreds of thumbnail images of people who have expressed their support for Christians in Iraq and who have pledged prayer. Will you sign up and will you encourage others to sign up too? Let’s send a powerful message of support, hope and faith. God Bless!

Can you help?

We are helping the Church in Iraq to reach out to the people who have lost everything. Clergy, lay people and other professionals are working together to relieve some of the material, emotional and spiritual distress. We are part of that team - as our supporters and well-wishers! A gift of whatever you can afford will make a real difference. Thank you.

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(Background information on Iraq. The situation at the moment is volatile and the picture is constantly changing. We will keep you updated).

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Please will you pray for the Christians in Iraq?

Lord,
the plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of the Christians
is heavy and frightening us,
therefore, we ask you Lord
to assign our lives, grant us patience and courage
to continue to witness our Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the base of any life;
Give us peace and stability
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
with dignity and joy, glory to you forever.

† Louis Raphael I Sako
(Chaldean Catholic Patriarch)

www.wearechristians.info