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The Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton encouraged to join the prayers of the Iraqi faithful ahead of Pope Francis visit

02 February, 2021
Iraqi Christians at prayer (credit: AFP or Licensor)

Pope Francis will make the first Apostolic visit ever to Iraq from 5 to 8 March, visiting Baghdad, the plain of Ur, Mosul, and Qaraqosh. In Iraq, Christians are an ancient community and counted amongst the First Nation peoples of that land. Their population has dwindled to a sixth of its pre-Gulf War size after experiencing extreme persecution.

Cardinal Louis Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, has announced that the Holy Father will also include a visit to meet with Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric. Pope Francis has expressed his hope ‘Iraq will continue to overcome violence with fraternity, solidarity and peace’, and has invoked the Lord’s blessing upon the nation and its people.

Ahead of the Pope’s visit, Cardinal Sako composed a prayer that the local Church has been reciting since 17 January.

Bishop Michael McCarthy recently received the newsletter of Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, and wanted to pass it on to all the faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton. You can view the Archbishop’s newsletter by clicking here.

Let us also join in with the prayer of the Iraqi faithful as Pope Francis embarks on this journey of hope and rebirth:

Lord our God, grant Pope Francis health and safety to carry out successfully this eagerly awaited visit. Bless his effort to promote dialogue, enhance fraternal reconciliation, build confidence, consolidate peace values and human dignity, especially for us Iraqis who have been through painful “events” that affected our lives.


Lord and Creator, enlighten our hearts with Your light, to recognize goodness and peace, and to realize them.


Mother Mary, we entrust Pope Francis’ visit to your maternal care so that the Lord may grant us the grace of living in full national communion, and to cooperate fraternally to build a better future for our country and our citizens.