Message of Prayers and Solidarity with the People of Iraq

Brussels, 31 December 2013
To Patriarch Louis Raphael 1 Sako
To Caritas Iraq
To all friends of Pax Christi in Iraq,
Greetings of peace to all of you.
In this season of Christmas and New Year we express new hope for peaceful coexistence in your county. Pax Christi International is aware and concerned about the ongoing sectarian violence continuing to disturb daily live in the Iraqi society.
Pax Christi International is very glad with the decision of the government of Iraq that has recognized Christmas Day, 25 December, as an official day of celebration and a national holiday for all of the country's citizens, as requested by the Patriarch. This is seen as an important move towards the Christian minority of the country. That day could become indeed a day of rest for all people.
Pax Christi International believes that such recognition would be a way to acknowledge the value and importance of a community that has for centuries actively contributed to the development of the nation. The decision sends also a signal meant to curb an exodus that has decimated the Christian community as well as other minorities in the past ten years.
We pray for the people of Iraq, unfortunately stricken daily by tragic episodes of violence, so that the Iraqi people may find the way of reconciliation, peace, unity and stability.
May the God of peace prevail.
Marie Dennis and Bishop Kevin Dowling, Co-Presidents Pax Christi International
José Henriquez, Secretary General, Pax Christi International