By Alice Seeley
Published On March 4, 2021
On Friday, March 5th, Pope Francis will make history by being the first pope to visit Iraq. The Pope will arrive in Baghdad, where American FRRME funds St. George’s medical and dental clinic. Through his visit, Pope Francis hopes to bring peace and healing to the war-torn country.
Peace is greatly needed in Iraq! Iraqi Christians are one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. However, that number has diminished alarmingly in the last twenty years and is still shrinking. In 2003, there were 1.5 million Iraqi Christians; today there are only 400,000. Currently, Iraq is the 11th most dangerous country in the world for Christians.
During his visit, Pope Francis will meet with important Christian and Muslim leaders to address issues faced by both groups. He is also scheduled to say Mass at Our Lady of Salvation Cathedral in Baghdad, where in October 2010, ISIS suicide bombers attacked during evening Mass, killing 48 people and two priests, and injuring dozens.
The Pope will go on to visit Qaraqosh, where Christians are finally starting to return home after dozens of family farms were destroyed by ISIS. Before the ISIS invasion, the Qaraqosh district was known as ‘Chicken City’ for the large number of chicken farms located there. American FRRME has helped many of these families regain their livelihood through the Nineveh SEED initiative. The first chicken farm of Nineveh SEED was completed at the end of 2019 and the project continues to grow. The Pope is expected to depart the country on March 8th.
Like Pope Francis, American FRRME is striving to bring peace and healing to Iraq. Your generosity helps us bring new life and healing to the devastated Nineveh plain.
American FRRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East.