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Vatican City

Letter from Rome: An invitation hard to refuse

Security issues may not keep the pope from going to Iraq in March, but health concerns could

Letter from Rome: An invitation hard to refuse

A young girl prays among Iraqi followers of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr during Friday noon prayers in Sadr City, east of Iraqi capital Baghdad, on Jan. 29. (Photo: AFP)

Cardinal Louis Sako has been determined to get Pope Francis to visit Iraq since the day the two men had their very first meeting. The date was March 21, 2013 — just two days after Francis had been formally installed as pope.

Sako was relatively new in his own position as the Baghdad-based Chaldean patriarch of Babylon.

"He asked me to pray for him," Sako said of the meeting with the new pope.

"And I invited him to visit us in Iraq. The pontiff said he looks forward to visiting our country, which is also where Abraham began his journey. His visit would inspire us with courage and hope."

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