When Cardinal Louis Sako presided over the episcopal ordinations of the new Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul and the new auxiliary of Baghdad last week, the message seemed clear: There’s life for Christianity in Iraq after ISIS. Source: Crux.
“As you know, episcopal ‘rank’ is a call rather than a privilege and the bishop is nothing but servant of people and the bearer of hope, God’s love and forgiveness,” Cardinal Sako said in his homily. “He’s there for them, not otherwise. A bishop is the spiritual father for his priests and his community, especially the displaced, in our case, keeping a spiritual fraternal [and] paternal bond with them.”
The new archbishop of Mosul, Najib Mikhael Mousa, was born in the war-torn city on September 9, 1955.
Speaking directly to Archbishop Mousa, Cardinal Sako said he’s “fully aware of the difficulties of the ‘devastated’ city of Mosul.”
Regardless, he said, the archbishop’s mission is to deepen the joy of liberation and establish the hope of returning, by working closely with two other archbishops, Petrus Moshi, a Syrian Catholic; and Daowd Sharewf, Syrian Orthodox.
According to the cardinal, Archbishop Mousa is also called to work with people of good will in “building trust between diverse components of society in Mosul, for promoting coexistence and dismantling the ‘residues’ left by ISIS, such as ideology, customs and traditions.”
“This is the greatest challenge that requires active participation of the Church and Christians in public life in a city of ‘almost fully destroyed’ ancient Churches,” Cardinal Sako said.
In fact, the bell tower of the city’s Dominican church is one of the few things that remained standing after the occupation of the city by the Islamic terrorist organisation.
Cardinal Sako’s message to Baghdad Auxiliary Bishop Robert Jarjis called on the new bishop to adapt to the new “communal” life and become a member of the “patriarchal team” working with “eagerness, understanding, love and humility.”
Cardinal Sako called on the new bishops to love Iraq, “our homeland,” as their identity, and to work for the nation’s unity and stability, and called on the community to support the prelates, as “the strength and happiness of the leader comes from having his people around him.”