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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Liturgy celebrated in ruined Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq, NOV. 9, 2010 ( One week after the attack on Our Lady of Salvation Syrian Catholic Church, which left 52 dead, including the priests, two young clergy arrived to celebrate Mass amid the demolishment.

Father Faadi and Father Aysar, both in their 30s, returned to Baghdad from studies in Rome to celebrate the Liturgy on Sunday and minister to the survivors of the Oct. 31 massacre. It was held amid the wreckage of pews, statues, and windows, with the participation of 60 faithful, Aid to the Church in Need reported.

They honored the 52 people killed in the attack, including Father Wasim Sabieh and Father Thaier Saad Abdal, and prayed for the 78 injured.

The aid agency spoke with Syrian Catholic Archbishop Georges Casmoussa of Mosul, who af firmed the "courage and determination" of the priests and the people who gathered there. He reported that Father Raphael Qatin, who was wounded in the attack and thought to have died in the hospital, had in fact begun to recover from being shot in the stomach.

Yet, on Sunday, two more Christians were shot dead, AsiaNews reported. One, Louay Daniel Yacoub, 49, was killed outside his apartment; the name of the other has not yet been released.

"Many, many of our people have lost confidence," the archbishop said. "But I have confidence in our neighbours."

He continued: "It is not only Christianity which does not allow people to kill others. This principle applies to others including Muslims."

"Since the tragedy in Baghdad, so many people here in Iraq have condemned this act of terrorism," the prelate said. "If they condemn this terrorism in their statements, they must be willing to take action to prevent it from happening in the future."

He asserted, "The government needs to give protection to Christian schools and churches and change the laws so that they are more favorable to Christians."

Archbishop Casmoussa added, "We need to feel that we Christians are the same rank as others -- that we are on the same level as them."

Samir Sumaidaie, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, said that he was "shocked and saddened" by the attack and "very worried" that it would result in a greater exodus of Christians from that region.

This exodus, he said, "would be extremely damaging for Iraq."

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