Young Iraqis arrive at WYD08 - 'a sign of hope' - 17 July 2008

 After resolving the bureaucratic problems regarding the issuing of visas, a group of young Iraqi Christians are finally on their way to WYD in Sydney, with their hearts full of joy and hope. Chaldean priest Fr Rayan Atto of Erbil siad that the visas were issued by the Australian Embassy in Amman and 27 Iraqi youth (mostly from Erbil) are now on their way to Sydney, by way of Dubai.

Fr Atto, who will accompany the youth to Australia, gave thanks through the Baghdad Hope news service. He said: "to all those who have contributed to making this dream come true: to Bishop Philip Najim for his role in resolving the problem, to the Australian Embassies to the Holy See and Amman, and to Fr. Bashar Warda, our group leader."

"We are extremely overjoyed. We want to give the Holy Father and everyone the testimony of our faith, as heirs to a tradition of more than a thousand years that is still alive in our hearts."

The WYD event is very well-known in Iraq. The local Church has announced that in addition to the youth going to Australia, another 5,000 youth will be praying and will be in continue with the Pope and the youth of WYD.

For the Iraqi Church, which is experiencing difficulties from the continuous flight of Christians and the lack of vocations, WYD is a new sign of hope for the Christian community. Today, the main challenge of the Catholic Church in Iraq is to convince Catholics to remain in Iraq, in the midst of sufferings and difficulties and to contribute to the rebirth of the Church and of the entire country.

Source: Fides

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