Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The celebration of Christmas

While we celebrate Christmas in the comfort of our homes and chur­ches, we should keep in mind those Christians in Iraq who are being persecuted due to their faith and fleeing their country because of attacks on their homes and churches. This exodus increased after a church was attacked last October, where 51 people were killed, including two priests.
Half the Christian population in Iraq, which until the 2003 invasion reached almost 1.5 million, has already left the country. Over the past month, there were a number of attacks in the capital city, Baghdad, and in Mosul. The army has maintained there is “little that can be done” to protect this community. 
Some families have fled to Turkey, Syria or Kurdistan. Others have had to seek safe haven within monasteries, where entire families have found themselves packed into small spaces. St Matthew’s Monastery, one of the oldest in the world, has been packed with refugees, where families of up to 15 people have been living in just one room. Last year, in the city of Kirkuk, Christmas Eve Mass could not be celebrated because the Christian communities were attacked in their churches.
When we gather to celebrate Christmas this year, let us remember those Christians who, unlike us, are unable to celebrate the nativity of Christ in the peace of their homes and churches.

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