Nuncio in Baghdad Appeals to All Christians to Pray for Peace

Says Pope Is in Constant Contact With Nunciature in Iraq

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MURCIA, Spain, APRIL 4, 2003 ( In a telephone message to Spain, the papal nuncio in Baghdad stressed the «need for Christians worldwide to pray for peace during these trying days.»

Archbishop Fernando Filoni expressed his concern and sorrow «for the sufferings the war is causing among the Iraqi population and, very especially, among the 3 million Christians of this country.»

The papal nuncio sent this message on the occasion of a prayer vigil, held at the Catholic University of Murcia. The vigil, which began late today, will continue until Saturday night. Groups will pray for peace, especially in Iraq.

«In these days of enormous danger for the well-being of members of the nunciature, the Catholic Church offers its presence and witnesses to its option for the least fortunate, for peace, and for brotherhood among men,» Archbishop Filoni said over the telephone.

«In this complicated context, the words of the Gospel come true ‘he who loses his life will save it; and he who saves his life, will lose it,'» he said.

Archbishop Filoni noted that before the war broke out «and every day since it started, the Holy Father has demonstrated again and again his sensibility toward those who suffer and has proposed dialogue as the only true way for a just peace in the region.»

John Paul II is «in permanent contact with the nunciature and watches over, prays and coordinates the work in favor of Christians and other communities in Iraq,» he said.

Organizers of the prayer vigil said the event must be seen in «the framework of preparations for the Pope’s visit to Spain in the month of May, as well as in response to the Holy Father’s wish for 24-hour prayer for peace.»

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