Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said he was “very moved” and thanked Pope Francis for his spontaneous prayers for the “suffering people in Iraq” and for his personal envoy.
The prayer was expressed at the end of the prayer of the faithful during the Mass for peace and reconciliation celebrated in the Cathedral in Seoul, at the conclusion of Pope Francis’ visit in Korea, Fides reports.
After praying for world peace, for the Church, for the places of war, for those who suffer from separation and division, and for the marginalized and the poor, the Pope also added an unscripted prayer “for Cardinal Filoni who was supposed to be with us but was sent by the Pope to Iraq to help all minorities who suffer in that country. May the Lord be near him in his mission”.
On the papal plane yesterday, Francis told reporters that he is willing to visit Iraq himself but has been warned against it. “I am willing (to go there),” he said. “I said if it were necessary when we return from Korea we can go there. It was one of the possibilities… At the moment it is not the best thing to do, but I am ready for this.”
Cardinal Filoni left Rome for Amman and Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, last Tuesday. His precise itinerary has not been disclosed for security reasons, the Vatican says.