Vatican Official on Visit to California Says Latin Church Must Support Eastern Churches Facing Violence

Cardinal Sandri Voices Hopes for Peace, Justice for Persecuted Christians in Mideast

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In a visit to the U.S., the prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches called the immigration into the East resulting from the current Middle Eastern conflict a pastoral challenge of “historic proportions.”

Presiding at the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of St. Paul the Apostle of the Chaldeans in San Diego on Sunday, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri prayed for the Christians persecuted in Iraq, the motherland of the Chaldean Church, and for those experiencing difficult situations especially in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, as well as those belonging to Ukraine’s Greek-Catholic community.

After thanking the cardinal for the consolation that his visit and his prayers offered to all the Christians of the East, Bishop of the Eparchy Sarhad Yawsip Hermiz Jammo said that, in communion with the Pope, they would “persist in the faith of Abraham” and, like the patriarch, “they would prepare to leave for the land God will show to them, learning to read history in a higher dimension.”

In Cardinal Sandri’s homily, he thanked those Christians who suffer for their faith in situations of conflict and expressed his hope for peace and justice for all those who have been afflicted by incredible and senseless violence.

Responding to the pastoral challenged posed by the current conflict, especially given the Christians fleeing from Iraq, the cardinal underlined that immigration is a pastoral challenge of historical proportions, and requires great efforts on the part of the Latin Church in support of the Eastern Churches.

He concluded, assuring those gathered of Pope Francis’ prayers and blessing, as well as of the closeness of all the Church.

The prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, in his visit to California, met with the Maronite and Syro-Malabar communities of Los Angeles and San Diego.

During the coming days, he will visit the Armenians and greet the priests of the Syrian, Coptic, Greek-Melkite and Romanian Greek-Catholic Churches who exercise their pastoral ministry in this region of the United States.

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