Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to celebrate Mass at Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil, Iraq, on March 7. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
FaithVatican Dispatch
Gerard O’Connell
Pope Francis concluded his three-day trip to Iraq with a stadium Mass in which he said the country “will always remain with me, in my heart.” America's Vatican correspondent, Gerard O’Connell, reports.
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, one of Shiite Islam's most authoritative figures, meets with Pope Francis in Najaf, Iraq, on March 6. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
FaithVatican Dispatch
Gerard O’Connell
On the second day of his trip to Iraq, Pope Francis met with a Shia Muslim leader in Najaf and delivered a message of religious unity in the ancient community of Ur. Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell reports.
The destroyed Al-Tahera Syriac Catholic Church is seen in Mosul, Iraq, on Feb. 22, 2021. The church was bombarded during the airstrike campaign that drove the Islamic State out of Mosul. (CNS photo/Thaier al-Sudani, Reuters)
FaithShort Take
Luma Simms
Refugees from the attacks on Christians in Iraq cannot help but feel bitter and forgotten, writes Luma Simms. Pope Francis’ upcoming visit is an opportunity to begin healing and seek religious harmony.
A security officer walks with a K-9 unit dog near a poster of Pope Francis in Baghdad on March 3, 2021. (CNS photo/Khalid al-Mousily, Reuters)
FaithVatican Dispatch
Gerard O’Connell
Pope Francis told Iraqis that he will be visiting their country in three different roles: as a “penitent pilgrim,” a “pilgrim of peace” and a “pilgrim of hope.”
FaithShort Take
Christopher P. Clohessy
Pope Francis, by visiting a Shia majority country, completes his pastoral embrace of the Islamic world, begun two years ago with his trip to Abu Dhabi when he met with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb.
FaithNews
Dale Gavlak - Catholic News Service
Pope Francis hopes to embark on the first-ever papal visit to the biblical land of Iraq in early March in a spiritual pilgrimage.