By ZENIT Staff

The Iraqi people experience the present like crossing a desert. It is a spiritual and material desert that reveals the weaknesses of all, including the many brothers and sisters who “give up their dreams of living in this country and flee by migrating”. But in this desert, inhabited by doubts and fears about an uncertain future and full of threats, the baptized are called to “prepare the ways of the Lord”, who became human flesh in the mystery of Christmas to bring salvation to men and women of all times, reported Fides News Agency.

This is emphasized by the Catholic bishops in Iraq in a joint message that was published at the end of the meeting in Baghdad on Friday, December 11th. At Christmas – the bishops suggest in their message – the Lord comes to meet us and gives us his salvation by crossing all deserts. He can also raise hope in the midst of all sorts of devastation affecting the daily lives of Iraqis and the peoples of the Middle East. A hope that is also nourished by the sign of the announced visit of Pope Francis to the Iraqi country.

The meeting of the Iraqi Catholic Bishops’ Council, chaired by the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, also addressed issues related to the preparation of the papal visit to Iraq. The meeting was also attended by Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, apostolic nuncio to Iraq. The Catholic bishops of the country have already put two extraordinary council meetings on their agenda, one in January and one in February 2021, in order to plan the preparations for the papal trip, which is to take place from March 5 to 8, 2021. “We lack peace…The Covid 19 is decimating our people, paralyzing our abilities, and excluding our interpersonal relationships that are the essence of our humanity. In this desert, the Lord asks everyone to pave the way because our Savior is coming. Our prayers will arise to seek salvation”.

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