US Bishops are calling for a day of prayer for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17th. It's in response to the persecution of Christians in the country who have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic extremists.
Bishop Richard Pates, chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the US Bishops Conference, made the request to all the dioceses in the country. He also sent a prayer written by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Raphael Sako.
Christians in the town of Mosul were forced to either convert to Islam or face death after the invasion by the terrorist group, ISIS. Christian-owned businesses, homes and churches have been looted or destroyed in the aftermath.
Bishop Pates also called on Catholics to reach out to their elected representatives and to express their concern for Christians in the region. He concluded his letter by echoing Pope Francis' call for peace, saying that "violence generates more violence” and that "dialogue is the only path for peace.”
Full text of Patriarch Sako's Prayer:
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.
Glory be to you forever.