Cardinal Wuerl calls for solidarity with Middle East's persecuted Christians

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington called for solidarity with the persecuted Christians of the Middle East during a Sept. 9 prayer service at a Roman Catholic church on Capitol Hill.

The prayer service was held in conjunction with the In Defense of Christians summit held at a Capitol Hill hotel, within walking distance of St. Joseph Church.

Advertisement

The Sept. 9-11 summit is the second for the organization, which Cardinal Wuerl noted in his reflections during the prayer service.

"All of came together [in 2014] so the people could ... express solidarity with our brothers and sisters," he said, "and bear prayerful witness to the suffering of so many ... especially our Christian brothers and sisters."

This year, Cardinal Wuerl said, "we are gathered in solidarity and witness" again to support the region's Christians who face "tragedy" every day. "Much, much needs to be said about what continues to happen in the Middle East," he added.

"After the prayer service, we can walk out and enjoy freedom. So many of our brothers and sisters cannot do that."

Cardinal Wuerl recalled the beatitudes, as proclaimed in English at the prayer service -- but also in sung chant -- by Melkite Father Nabil Haddad, founder of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center, and in particular, "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." These, the cardinal said, are today's Middle East's Christians.

"We know that we can offer our prayers," he added. "Prayer helps. Prayer is effective."

Cardinal Wuerl suggested praying to Our Lady Help of Christians on behalf of Middle East Christians, who face continuous pressures on whether to stay in their native homelands in the face of turbulence and war, or to flee to an uncertain future elsewhere in the region, or perhaps another continent.

"Jesus says let your light be seen, let your light shine," Cardinal Wuerl said.

The prayer service featured the Marian hymn "Immaculate Mary," sung in English and Arabic, and a procession with Marian icons. Elements of Melkite, Maronite, Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian and Syro-Malabar rites were incorporated into the service.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018