His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, has long witnessed the suffering his spiritual sons and daughters in northern Iraq living now under the Islamic State.
In conjunction with the First Sunday of Advent, he issued an invitation to the Chaldean Catholics still present on the Nineveh Plain and scattered throughout the world to pray for two particular intentions throughout Advent.
The Fides News Agency reports that the Patriarch has invited the faithful to pray
- for the liberation of Mosul from the control of the Islamic State so that those who have been forced from their homes may return; and,
- the rights of religious minorities in the region will be protected.
It seems to me that we should include these two intentions in our own prayers this Advent so that the coming celebration of Christmas will be a time of joy not only for us, but for our persecuted brothers and sisters, as well.
Let us not forget that it was in Mosul that the homes and businesses of Christians were marked with the Arabic letter nun, a letter used to designate the Nazarenes, that is, the follows of Jesus of Nazareth:
Once their homes and businesses were so marked, they fled, paid a heavy tax, or were killed.