26 Injured Iraqis Hospitalized in Rome's Polyclinic

Survivors Give Testimony of Faith and Courage

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ROME, NOV. 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- On Friday, Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic accepted 26 injured survivors of the Oct. 31 massacre in Baghdad’s Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The wounded include 16 women, three children and seven men — transferred by plane from Baghdad together with 21 relatives.

The attack left 58 dead and more than 100 wounded. France has already welcomed over 70 of the injured Iraqis for hospital care.
The Rome hospitalization was organized by the Italian foreign affairs ministry in collaboration with the polyclinic, at the specific invitation of Benedict XVI’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
According to a note from the polyclinic’s press office, the wounded are almost all in fair condition and are being cared for by a multi-disciplinary task force provided by the management of highest emergencies. The relatives of the injured are staying in a structure adjacent to the hospital made available by the affiliated University of the Sacred Heart.
In statements on the blog «Baghdadhope» Father Ameer Gammo, one of the Iraqi priests and seminarians who visited the wounded, said: «They are persons wounded in body and soul who still don’t know how to express their pain.

«Too little time has passed and the pain, the real pain that torments the soul, will fall on them perhaps in a few months time.

«However, even if it seems impossible, they have given me courage. They have given courage and comfort to all of us priests and seminarians who met with them today.»

The priest reported that «there is a girl who was hit by a bullet that first went through Father Wasim’s body.»

Father Wasim Sabieh and Father Thaier Saad Abdal were both killed in the attack.

Father Gammo continued: «When I saw her, and I saw her smile, her serenity, I almost lacked the courage to ask her how she was. However, she herself gave me the strength and told me of being, with her mother, the only survivor of her family.

«I still see that sweet smile and above all in mind the answer to what was her mystery: the unbreakable faith of these persons that makes them strong even in tragedy.»
Father Gammo noted, «Many of those people have said the same thing to us: that while they were in the church they wished to die because what was happening was too horrible to endure, but also that in their hearts they had seen even in that circumstance goodness, absolute love of the faith that drove Father Thaier to embrace the children close to him in the desperate attempt to save them.»
«All the stories these persons tell are tragic, every one of them lost someone they loved,» the priest affirmed.

He continued: «Among the wounded is also the mother of a three-year-old child, Adam, who was killed together with his father. This woman has with her daughter of a few months who was hit by a bullet, which went through her leg, and she told me how no sooner she was able to come out of the church than she entrusted her daughter to a doctor and returned to get Adam.»
The priest said that the woman «had not realized that her son was dead because in all that time she had not heard him cry but only shout, ‘Enough! Enough!’ And that is why she carried him outside asking another doctor to save him.»
According to what «Baghdadhope» reported, a group of Iraqi Christians gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday to pray the midday Angelus with the Pope, carrying the flag of Iraq and photos of some of the victims of the carnage in the cathedral.

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