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

"The Catholic Cook Book," published in 1965, is exactly that: a cookbook for Catholics and those who want to learn about Catholicism and how it relates to food.
Vivian CabreraAugust 16, 2018
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington is pictured as Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Washington Sept. 23, 2015. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror.”
Victims of clergy sexual abuse and their family members listen as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks about a grand jury’s investigation of clergy sexual abuse. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
On the Feast of the Assumption and following more revelations of sexual abuse, a priest reflects on the hard work required for the church to “come to perfection.”
Sam Sawyer, S.J. August 16, 2018
Today America joins more than 300 U.S. publications in support of the free press, which has been repeatedly insulted by President Donald J. Trump.
The EditorsAugust 16, 2018