Following the invitation of Pope Francis to pray for Christians in Iraq, our Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference issued a statement and asked for a day of prayer to be held on the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady.
"The Conference resolves that a special Day of Prayer for Christians in Iraq be held in all dioceses on the Patronal Feast of the Conference, the Assumption of our Lady."
Though the feast is today, many dioceses of our Conference (like the Vicariate of Ingwavuma in South Africa and the Diocese of Manzini in Swaziland) celebrate the feast on the following Sunday. The most important thing is to make sure we are one in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Iraq.
Fr Lombardi Director of the Press Office of the Holy See said:
Then added:"The Holy Father is following with deep concern the dramatic news reports coming from northern Iraq, which involve defenseless populations. Christian communities are particularly affected: a people fleeing from their villages because of the violence that rages in these days, wreaking havoc on the entire region."
"The Holy Father renews his spiritual closeness to all those who are suffering through this painful trial, and makes the impassioned appeals of the local bishops his own, asking together with them in behalf of their sorely tried communities, that the whole Church and all the faithful raise up with one voice a ceaseless prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to send the gift of peace."
One gets lots of information after "quick tour" of the web:
"The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has appealed for prayers for Iraqi Christians and called for an end to "the violent persecution that threatens to extinguish the Christian community there." In their statement, the Bishops condemned the ethnic cleansing towards Christians and other minorities in Iraq by Islamic extremists and urged Catholics in England and Wales to observe a special day of prayer for Iraq’s Christians." (news.va)
- Fr Lombardi's full statement in English can be found HERE
- Christianaid offers intercessions and biblical texts HERE
- Aid to the Church in Need offers texts and posters HERE
- and also a couple of videos (from 2010 and 2012) adding that "This video contains images some viewers may find distressing"
Romereports.com have uploaded a short video report that can be seen by clicking HERE
"From one day to another they became refugees. The Iraqi region of Kurdistan has been welcoming minorities who lost it all amid violence and persecution.
They were able to escape from extremists who want to impose an Islamic State at all costs. They're considered part of the lucky ones who survived, but it's hard to escape that dark chapter."