CNEWA

Journey to Iraq:
Following Cardinal Dolan’s Visit

This week, CNEWA’s Chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, is embarking on a pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, to visit with displaced Iraqis. The trip is already beginning to generate some press coverage, including this report from Catholic News Agency and an interview with the Cardinal in Crux.

You can read about the trip and what it entails right here.

And if you look to the sidebar on the left, you’ll see a widget we have just installed, “Journey to Iraq.” Consider this your one-stop spot for following the trip and picking up the latest news and developments over the next several days.

We hope to post news, photographs and possibly even video. So check back often. Meantime, the latest post on the trip comes from National Catholic Reporter’s Tom Gallagher, who writes:

The first full day on the ground in the northern region of Iraq known as Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region recognized by the Iraqi government in Baghdad, is completed. Our small delegation visited a grade school, Al Bishara School — the Annunciation School — located in Ankawa, a largely Christian community on the outskirts of Erbil, that is run by the Dominican Sisters. After lunch, we visited a newly-established public university serving some 1,400 students seeking a bachelor’s degree, and attended a religious ceremony at a nearby Christian church celebrating the Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis.

The children at Al Bishara School were enjoying recess when we arrived. Like most kids the world over, they loved getting their pictures taken. They horsed around and pushed and shoved to get their picture taken. Pairs of kids would wait patiently for their turn. When they saw themselves on the digital camera screen afterwards, they smiled and laughed and elbowed each other. It could have been recess at any grade school in the U.S.

One of the highlights of the first day was an exclusive NCR interview with Dominican Sister Maria Hanna, superior general of the Dominican Sisters, who shared the harrowing story of exodus from the City of Mosul, just over 50 miles from Erbil, from the village of Bashiqa, some twenty minutes from Mosul, and from Qaraqosh, the largest Christian city of Iraq. It is a compelling story, which I will file soon. Erbil is a city of contradictions.

Read on for more.

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