Two weeks ago, new bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq, Patriarch Louis Sako, issued a cry for Western support for Christians in Iraq. Most haunting was Sako's expression of the Iraqi Christian community's pain:
"We feel forgotten and isolated," said Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church.
"We sometimes wonder, if they kill us all, what would be the reaction of Christians in the West? Would they do something then?"
Sadly, we know that yet another attempt by militants to drive out and destroy Iraq's Christians took one more step on Christmas Day, as militants set off bombs near a Baghdad Church and in a nearby market frequented by Christians, killing 37 people and wounding dozens more.
Sako feels his call for support is not only in the interest of the Christian community, but in the entire population of Iraq, including the future for Muslims in the region.
"Christians are important to the Middle East because of their culture, high levels of education, skills, qualifications, openness, their spirit of cooperation and their institutions such as schools, hospitals, orphanages, homes for the aged and the poor, as well as their economic enterprises and small businesses," he said.
Sako called the Christian presence in the Middle East "a guarantee of a better future for Muslims."
Please join The Institute in once again praying for the Church in Iraq. Pray that God's spirit, presence and witness will strengthen Iraq's Christian community and help them endure the hardship and suffering they now face. Pray that tangible actions steps will be revealed and find favor with the global Church, the current Iraqi government, and world leaders, so that a better future for both Muslims and Christians may be had by all of the citizens in this tired and war-torn region. Finally, please pray for the victims who have experienced great trauma through the Christmas Day and other attacks, that God and His Church worldwide would find ways to bring healing and restoration to this hurting people.