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Pope Francis held a private audience with Nadia Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and survivor of the Islamic State-led genocide in Iraq, Aug. 26 at the Vatican.
Catholic education is taking another step forward in Irbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region, affirming the country's historical leadership role in academia.
Before returning to Rome from Iraq March 8, Pope Francis left $350,000 to assist families still suffering the impact of conflict or in dire straits because of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, said Cardinal Louis Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Political leaders had "very nice words" during Pope Francis' early March trip to Iraq, but now Christians pray "that those words, those declarations, will be applied on the daily level, on the ground," said Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan.
Metro Detroit's Chaldean Catholic community hopes Pope Francis' recently completed pastoral visit to Iraq strengthens and restores some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
Despite years of suffering due to war and terrorism, the people of Iraq continue to look to the future with hope, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis summarized his "pilgrimage of faith and penitence" to Iraq in a prayer: "If God is the God of life -- for so he is -- then it is wrong for us to kill our brothers and sisters in his name. If God is the God of peace -- for so he is -- then it is wrong for us to wage war in his name. If God is the God of love -- for so he is -- then it is wrong for us to hate our brothers and sisters."
The Catholic Church's commitment to dialogue with other churches and with other religions flows from the Gospel, but Pope Francis said he knows some Catholics disagree.
Pope Francis' historic visit to the Middle East's most conflict-riven nation gives hope and comfort to Iraqis of all faiths, and some would even say to Arabs beyond Iraq's borders.
Amid the rubble and bombed out remains of four churches destroyed by Islamic State militants, Pope Francis paid tribute to Iraqi Christians who endured persecution and even death.