Below is a translation of the statement released by the Holy See today expressing the Pope’s concern about the displaced in Iraq and Nigeria:
Pope Francis remains concerned for the situation of Christian families and other groups of victims expelled from their homes and their villages, particularly in the city of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain, many of whom had taken refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Pope prays for the victims and hopes that they can return to their homelands and resume their lives where, for hundreds of years, they lived and had good relations with their neighbors.
As Holy Week approaches, these families share with Christ the unjust violence of which they are made victims, and participate in the suffering of Christ himself.
Wanting to be close to the families, Cardinal Fernando Filoni is returning to Iraq as a sign of closeness, affection, and to be united in prayer with them.
The families of the Diocese of Rome, united to their bishop in feelings of closeness and solidarity with those families, through a special collection in parishes, will be sending them a special Easter cake called Colomba so they can share in the joy of Easter and as a sign of goodness based on faith in the Resurrection of Christ.
The Holy Father, moreover, himself makes this present in a concrete way with a tangible sign of solidarity. Not wanting to forget the suffering of the families of the north of Nigeria, the Pope also sent them the same sign of solidarity through the local episcopal conference.[Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]