Updated: November 03, 2020 04:48 AM GMT
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan. (Photo: Catholic Herald)
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the massacre by Islamic militants at Our Lady of Deliverance Church in Baghdad, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan reminded the faithful that "our martyrs are the torches of faith that illuminate our paths of life and ignite in us the fire of love toward everyone."
Two priests were among the 48 people who were killed during the attack Oct. 31, 2010. The youngest victim was 3. More than 80 people were wounded.
"Many of you knew the martyrs closely: the two young priests, Father Thaer Abdal and Father Wasim Al kass Petrous, the children, the young men and women, the fathers and mothers" as they prayed and participated in the sacrifice of the Mass on the eve of All Saints' Day "when the cowardly criminals" went on a rampage, "killing relentlessly," the patriarch said in his homily.
The interior of the church, its bloodstained walls pock-marked with bullet holes, has since been renovated.
"The blood of our martyrs was mixed with the sacrifice of the lamb on the altar, and their souls ascended to the sky looking at us from its perch with tenderness, interceding with us," Patriarch Younan said.
The patriarch, who visited Baghdad from the patriarchate in Beirut, prayed that the cause for canonization for all 48 martyrs would be "completed by the competent authorities in the Holy See, so that we can return and celebrate their rite of beatification as soon as possible."
The massacre was considered "a wake-up call for Christians" that led to the displacement of the largest number of Christians in modern times, not only from Baghdad, but from all parts of Mesopotamia, Patriarch Younan said.
"No matter what injustice and calamities befall us, we will not become advocates of violence or revenge, but messengers of peace, brotherhood, and tolerance," the patriarch said.
"Our martyrs assure us, as well as their cowardly killers, that the true final victory is for good, and that our true dwelling is in heaven where there is neither crying, sadness, nor pain, but true happiness with the Lord and the Virgin 'Our Lady of Deliverance' and all the saints," Patriarch Younan assured the faithful.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.