Prelate Hopes for Sufficient Security to Have Sunday Mass

BAGHDAD, Iraq, FEB. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Christians in war-torn Iraq have been asked to add Lenten sacrifices to their daily privations as an offering to God.

Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Babylon explained this to the Italian bishops' SIR news agency.

"They are renunciations that are added to the privations that we experience daily in Iraq," said Bishop Warduni. Such privations include lack of drinking water, food, medicines and electricity.

"It is paradoxical, moreover, that in an oil-rich country such as Iraq there is no gasoline for the population's needs," he added in the interview published Friday by SIR.

"We have no security or stability, or job possibilities, and we suffer violence and abuses," the prelate said. "Despite this, we have asked our faithful to offer all these difficulties to God so that he will keep present the fate of Iraq, of its children, of its sick, of its elderly, and of peace and security." At home

According to his statements, since Christmas, Masses are no longer celebrated regularly because it is very dangerous.

For Lenten celebrations, "we have asked our faithful to meet in homes to do little Stations of the Cross, to pray the rosary or vespers with the help of a committed layman or subdeacon," said Bishop Warduni.

The celebrating of Mass on one of the forthcoming Sundays will be impossible, unless the situation improves, he lamented.

"And this makes us suffer a lot. Our faithful try to live the celebrations together, gathering in family groups, avoiding moving around for security reasons," the bishop added.

Nevertheless, priestly vocations and the Church are growing and the Church in Iraq is "full of hope in the Lord," he said.

Bishop Warduni asked "all Christian families worldwide to remember the Iraqi people in their prayers."
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