NEW YORK, NOV. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The attack on the Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad Iraq was the “worst possible nightmare,” and one that isn’t quite over, says the Holy See’s representative at the United Nations.
Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said this tonight in New York City’s Church of the Holy Family — located one block away from the United Nations — during a special evening prayer service for the victims of the Oct. 31 attack.
The Holy See’s Mission, in conjunction with the Syriac Catholic Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance and the Archdiocese of New York, organized the event on behalf of the 58 victims who died in the attack, and the more than 100 who were left wounded. Also in attendance was Bishop Yousif Habash, the Syriac Catholic bishop for the United States and Canada.
Archbishop Chullikatt had been the apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan for the last four years until arriving in New York two months ago to fill his new post at the United Nations. His former residence in Baghdad was only a short distance from the cathedral, and he knew the priests who were murdered — Father Thaer Abdal and Father Wassim Al-Qas Boutrus — as well as other victims.
In his opening remarks he lamented that some of the families who lost loved ones on that day have been subject to further attacks on their homes.
“What happened on Oct. 31 is the worst possible nightmare,” he said. “And the nightmare is not over. Some of the same families who lost loved ones then, have in the meantime, suffered further violent attacks on their homes. The situation is intolerable.”
“We all are saddened to hear of places of worship being attacked,” the archbishop continued. “We are especially outraged by these heinous acts when they are perpetrated for the sake of eradicating a religion from a particular place in God’s creation, when our brothers and sisters are killed just because of their faith. That is never the way to spread faith in God.
He concluded with an impassioned plea for peace and reconciliation: “Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.”
The archbishop said that not only do the dead and their families need prayers, but also those assembled need to pray “so that our hearts do not grow bitter and so that we can do our share in building a world that values and promotes reconciliation, harmony, love and peace among peoples, nations and religions.”
In the program for the event, the names of all the martyrs of Our Lady of Deliverance were published. Here are the names as they appeared:
Rev. Father Thaer Abdal
Rev. Father Wassim Al-Qas Boutrus
George Ayoub Toubaias
Thaer Kamel with his wife Nada and his son Omar
Nada Hamis Stefan
Younan Georgis Alsaour with his son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter
Rita Matti Georgis Zora
Sandro John Younan
Maha Naseef Bino with her two sons Wisam and Salam
Fayez Waedallah Qzazi
Audai Zhair Marzeina Arab
Adam Audai Zhair Arab
Behnam Mansour Paulus Mamika
Ayoub Adnan Ayoub Berjo
Sabah Matti Hamai
Saed Edward Alsaati
Fares Najeeb Philip Anawi
Vivine Naser Maro
Nazir Abdulahad Anai
Mazen Fadil Salim Elias Mahrouk
Nizar Jamil Matloub
Noel Nizar Jamil Matloub
Bassam Jamil Al-Khouri
Adnan Jamil Al-Khouri
Salah Georgis AbdelAhad Qaqo
Christine Nabil Toubaia Katnawi
Raed Saadallah Abdal
Fadi Samir Habib Amso
Athil Nageeb Aboudi
Nizar Hazem Al Sayegh