Communion and Liberation follows the call of the Italian bishops to pray Sunday, November 21 for the Christians of Iraq, “who are suffering the tremendous trial of blood witness to the faith” (Final communiqué of the Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, November 11, 2010).
The Movement invites all its members to participate in Mass according to the intentions of Benedict XVI, who the day after the grave attack in the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Baghdad that left dozens dead and wounded, said, “I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, all the more savage because it struck defenseless people gathered in God’s house, which is a house of love and reconciliation. I also express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, struck once again, and encourage the pastors and faithful to be strong and steady in hope. In the face of the heinous episodes of violence that continue tearing the populations of the Middle East to pieces, I renew my grieved call for peace: it is the gift of God, but also the result of the efforts of people of good will, of national and international institutions. May everyone join their strengths to put an end to all violence! (Comments after the Angelus, November 1, 2010).
Addressing all members of Communion and Liberation, Fr. Julián Carrón said that “participation in Sunday Mass according to the intentions of the Pope and the bishops is a gesture of real communion and charity because we feel that the Christians of Iraq are our friends, even if we do not know them directly.”
As Fr. Giussani said, “If the sacrifice is accepting the circumstances of life, as they happen, because they make us correspondent, participants in the death of Christ, then sacrifice becomes the keystone of all life […] but also the keystone for understanding the history of man. The entire history of man depends on that man dead on the cross, and I can influence the history of man – I can influence the people who live in Japan now, the people in danger at sea now; I can intervene to help the pain of the women who lose their children now, in this moment – if I accept the sacrifice that this moment imposes.” (L. Giussani, Is It Possible to Live This Way? Book 3: Charity, McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp. 74-75.)
For this reason, added Carrón, “if a gesture of prayer can influence the change of people in Japan, it can also change something in Iraq. May the sacrifice we make for the Christians of Iraq and Sunday’s prayer be a gesture with which we invoke, implore from God protection for them.”
The CL Press Office
Milan, November 18, 2010
Around 5:20 p.m., as the Christian worshipers stood and recited "Upon this rock I will build my church," the gunfire started on the street outside. Father Thar advised everyone to stay seated and to keep praying, but Madeline Mikhal and others rushed from their pews....
Father Rafael, who shielded Mikhal from the shrapnel, was badly wounded. "He protected me," she said. The priest, despite injuries that later required major surgery, remained standing. "He was encouraging us," Selim said. "He told us to please pray. He never sat down."