In the fall, Mar Qardakh School, a kindergarten through ninth grade Catholic institution, will open a high school, the Chesterton Academy of St. Thomas the Apostle, in the northern Iraq city.
"We ask you, Lord, through the intercession of our Mother Virgin Mary, the star of the sea in the storm, to lead our homelands, our churches and our people to the port of safety,” Cardinal Rai pleaded.
Although the lives of those attending that Mass were spared, so far 12 parishioners have died from the blast. Father Mouannes has no idea how many have been injured.
"The wounds of the Islamic State have not been healed yet, together with the ongoing violence, poverty, unemployment and poor services that have pushed thousands of people, especially youth, to demonstrate peacefully, demanding the right to live with dignity and freedom in a stable, secure and strong independent homeland," Cardinal Louis Sako, patriarch of Chaldean Catholics, said of anti-government protests.
Amid deadly protests in Iraq, a people's uprising in Lebanon and continued suffering in Syria, Catholic leaders of the Middle East called upon officials of their homelands to "ensure safety, peace and tranquility and stability for their citizens."
After enduring persecution, violence and uprooting, a group of Iraqi religious and laypeople are on the path to healing.
The prelates noted that Christians "are an authentic component and founder" in Syria and Iraq. They called for solidarity among all citizens to build peace, hope and unity.