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Rome Reports

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A sneak peek of Pope Francis' trip to Iraq

Pope Francis’ apostolic trip to Iraq is right around the corner.

He is scheduled to fly out of Rome on Friday, March 5, and land at Baghdad International Airport in the late morning. He will meet with the prime minister and the president, and deliver an address to civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps.

That same day, Pope Francis will meet with men and women religious at the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation, which was bombed in 2010. The attack claimed the lives of 58 Christians, among them two priests.

0n Saturday, March 6, the pope will fly to Najaf, where he will meet with the Grand Ayatollah al-Sayyid Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, one of the most important spiritual leaders for Shia Muslims. 

From there he will attend an interreligous meeting at the Plain of Ur, native land of Abraham, the biblical figure shared by the three great monotheistic religions.

On Sunday, March 7, Pope Francis will visit the Iraqi Kurdistan region, where ISIS carried out numerous attacks on Christians. Many of those driven out of the Nineveh plains took refuge in Erbil. The pope will also go to Mosul, where he will lead a prayer of suffrage for the victims of the war at Hosh al-Bieaa (Church square). Then he will go to Qaraqosh, home to one of the region's largest Christian communities.

After a farewell ceremony at Baghdad International Airport on Monday, March 8, Pope Francis will take the five-hour flight back to Rome.