Five days after a Chaldean Catholic priest and three companions were murdered by terrorists in Mosul, Iraq, another Chaldean priest was kidnapped in Baghdad.
Fr Hani Abdel Ahad, in his early 30s, was taken in a north-eastern section of the capital called Suleikh along with five boys who were going with him to visit the city’s minor seminar.
They report that a ransom note may already have been received. It’s yet another serious blow to our Catholic family in Iraq. Please pray for them.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict called the murder of Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni, the priest killed days earlier, a “costly sacrifice.”
[He] “joins the Christian community in Mosul in commending their souls to the infinite mercy of God our loving Father and in giving thanks for their selfless witness to the Gospel.” The Pontiff said he would pray for the “costly sacrifice [which] will inspire in the hearts of all men and women of good will a renewed resolve to reject the ways of hatred and violence […] and to cooperate in hastening the dawn of reconciliation, justice and peace in Iraq.”
AsiaNews adds their own editorial in memory of Fr. Ragheed:
“Without Sunday, without the Eucharist the Christians in Iraq cannot survive”: that was how Fr Ragheed spoke of his community’s hope, a community that was used to facing death on a daily basis, that same death that yesterday afternoon faced him, on his way home from saying mass. After having fed his faithful with the Body and Blood of Christ, he gave his own blood, his own life for Iraq, for the future of his Church. This young priest had willingly, knowingly chosen to remain by the side of his parishioners from Holy Spirit parish in Mosul, judged the most dangerous, after Baghdad. His reasoning was simple: without him, without its pastor, his flock would have been lost. In the barbarity of suicide attacks and bombings, one thing at least was clear, and gave him the strength to resist: “Christ – Ragheed would say – challenger evil with his infinite love, he keeps us united and through the Eucharist he gifts us life, which the terrorists are trying to take away”.