Chaldean Patriarch Invites Muslims to Join Christians in Lenten Fast

Act of Solidarity Is Intended to Obtain Peace in Middle East

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With Ash Wednesday yesterday marking the start of Lent, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I has invited Muslims to join Christians in their Lenten fast, reported Fides.

In order to obtain “as soon as possible the gift of peace, stability and a dignified lifestyle for our country and for all the Middle East,” the patriarch wrote to his “Muslim brothers and sisters” urging them to join Christians in fasting for a few days during the Lenten season.

“The season of Lent,” the patriarch said in a statement, “is a propitious time for repentance, conversion and reconciliation, with self, with the Lord and with others.»

“Let us take this opportunity,» he added, «for prayer, reflection, discernment and examination of conscience, and to restore harmony considering that division is sinful.”

In addition, Patriarch Louis Raphael exhorted the faithful of the Chaldean Church and all Iraqis to “love the country, just as we love our mother and father,” and “to work to strengthen our unity in diversity, rather than pursue sectarianism.”

“Diversity itself is part of the plan of God,” he reaffirmed.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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