On October 13, 2018, Pope Francis gave special encouragement to the young people of Iraq, receiving, at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, 26-year-old Safa Al-Abbia, a member of the Chaldean Church and auditor at the Synod on Young People. On learning that he had to leave the Synod because his mother was gravely ill, Pope Francis wished to greet him before he left.
In the course of the audience, in a “particularly affectionate” atmosphere, the Pope gave the young man a Rosary for his mother, reported “Vatican News.”
The Holy Father listened to Safa’s story and addressed a message to Iraqi young people, to be published once he returned to his country. The Pontiff confided that he carries in his heart the Young people of Iraq, conscious of their sufferings. He encouraged them to have confidence in the future, not to be discouraged despite the difficulties of the past and the present, and to entrust themselves to the Lord. Finally, he assured them of his prayers and gave them his Blessing, stated the same source.
Safa’s intervention on October 11 was the most applauded since the start of the Synod of Bishops on Young People. He invited the Pope to visit his country and talked about the daily life of 120,000 Christians of the Nineveh Plains, including abductions, assassinations under Daesh’s menace. He confessed his fear of seeing Iraq emptied of Christians, the main challenge for young people being peace, stability and the right to live in dignity.