All active news articles
In the Year of Mercy, Catholics in Middle East 'will pray for Daesh'
"We have to forgive each other. Even the people of Daesh, who have done so many evil things to us."
By Oliver Maksan
The Holy Year of Mercy, solemnly inaugurated by Pope Francis in Rome Dec. 8, 2015—on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception—is being hailed by Catholics throughout the Arab world International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) gathered some impressions.
Father Dankha Issa is a Chaldean monk in Alqosh. Last summer, hundreds of
Christian refugees found refuge in the city after their villages were seized by
jihadists. The ancient, exclusively Christian city is situated in the northern
part of Iraq. As the crow flies, only
about 10 miles separate the monastery of the Virgin in the Corn Field from the
front line ISIS-held territory.
“In this year our attention is particularly drawn to how merciful God is with us sinners. God forgives us. But this also means that we have to forgive each other. Even the people of Daesh, who have done so many evil things to us. After all, as a Christian you also have to love your enemies. This is almost humanly impossible. But it is easier through faith. God is capable of everything.”
In Egypt, Father Beshoi has been the
priest in Azareia, a Christian town in Upper Egypt near Asyut. The Coptic
Catholic cleric wants to make the sacrament of penance more accessible to his
parishioners again, saying: “We need the forgiveness of God. Here, there are a
lot of cases of revenge because of insults to family honor. These are often
caused by something trivial. But the situations often escalate until there are
"However, I want to change this mentality. I want to show God to my
brothers and sisters as a merciful Father who forgives us. However, this is
also why we have to forgive each other. Thus, the Year of Mercy has come at
just the right moment for me.”
A good example are the Sisters of the Carmelite convent of Tangiers. “We embrace the Holy Year with pleasure and gratitude. It is a great grace that we want to experience together with the entire church. With all of our poverty and weakness and in recognising our sinfulness, we are on our way to the Father, whose embrace we have need of,” Sister Maria Virtudes told ACN.
Carmelite nuns in Tangiers, Morocco; ACN photo