Hong Kong diocese holds prayer for peace in Middle East

Persecution cannot expunge hope, as “the early Church showed by keeping the virtue of hope alive despite fierce and widespread persecution,” the prelate said at the mass.

China
Sep 02 2014, 11:57 AM
Hong Kong diocese holds prayer for peace in Middle East
Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong.

Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong offered a Mass for the suffering people of Iraq on August 20 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Hong Kong.

Persecution cannot expunge hope, as “the early Church showed by keeping the virtue of hope alive despite fierce and widespread persecution,” the prelate said at the mass.

The cardinal told the over 400 people gathered despite rain to offer the rosary and celebrate Mass for the welfare of the people of Iraq, adding that people the world over should show special concern at the current time of crisis.

Cardinal Tong added that although he believes persecution must be eliminated in all societies, the pain suffered can be purifying. He reminded the gathering that from Old Testament times the prophets were continuously under violent pressure to silence them, but their suffering only served to purify and strengthen their message.

He pointed out that many Christians have been killed and displaced by armed forces in Iraq, as he restated the appeal of Pope Francis to be concerned about the persecuted Church groups in the Middle East.

He said the diocese has given strong support to projects for the protection of the Middle Eastern refugees.

Prayers for world peace were offered with a specific focus on the political situation in Iraq. The Prayer of St. Francis was offered for the Middle East.

In a memo sent to all parishes on August 13, the cardinal had urged all parishes to pray for those suffering in the Middle East. Concern has grown among congregations for the critical situation in Iraq after parish priests talked about the persecution of Christians at Mass.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has donated US$1 million ($7.745 million) for Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq that have been targeted by terrorists of the Islamic state and forced to leave their homes in the face of an edict to convert to Islam or die. Fernardo Cardinal Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, relayed the message from the pope expressing his closeness to the victims of the violence to Church authorities in Iraq.

Source: Sunday Examiner

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