At a Mass for peace and reconciliation today, the last major activity on Pope Francis’ South Korea itinerary, the Holy Father showed that he continues to have the Iraq tragedy forefront in his mind.
At the end of the Prayers of the Faithful, spoken in Korean by various Church leaders and lay representatives, the Pope added his own prayer, in Italian.
“For Cardinal Fernando Filoni,” he said, “who should be here among us but was unable to come because he was sent by the Pope to the suffering people of Iraq, to help those who are persecuted, those who have been stripped of everything, to all the religious minorities who suffer in that land, so that the Lord may be close in his mission.”
Right before leaving for Korea, Pope Francis named the Italian cardinal as his personal envoy to Iraq. Cardinal Filoni was apostolic nuncio to Iraq during the 2003 US-led invasion.
Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken of oppressed minorities and those persecuted for their faith, and especially those being persecuted by ISIS.
During this trip, he beatified 124 Korean martyrs of the 18th and 19th centuries.