ROME — Pope Francis stated his upcoming trip to Iraq would be an important signal of his issue for the region’s Christians, but also an crucial prospect to create fraternity through interreligious dialogue.
“In our time, interreligious dialogue is an essential ingredient of the come across involving peoples and cultures. When it is seen not in phrases of compromising our possess id but as an situation of mutual comprehending and enrichment, dialogue can become an chance for religious leaders and the followers of various confessions, and can assistance the accountable attempts of political leaders to encourage the typical fantastic,” the pope explained to ambassadors to the Holy See Feb. 8.
A number of several hours later, the Vatican released the initial plan for the pope’s trip to Iraq March 5-8. The program stated prepared occasions and cities but did not present distinct instances for any of the occasions.
As Cardinal Louis Sako, the Baghdad-centered patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, informed reporters Jan. 28, Pope Francis programs to meet up with March 6 with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, leader of the country’s Shiite Muslim bulk and then to keep an interreligious meeting with Christians, Muslims and Yazidis on the plain of Ur, commonly identified as the homeland of the patriarch Abraham.
All over the trip the pope will spend homage to the victims of war and persecution in the country. He will satisfy March 5 with clergy and spiritual at the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad, which was the web site of a massacre in 2010 by associates of the Islamic Condition two priests and close to 60 other worshippers had been killed.
The pope also will vacation to the autonomous area of Kurdistan and to Qaraqosh, which, ahead of it was invaded by Islamic Condition fighters in 2014, was house to Iraq’s largest Christian community.
Here is the pope’s original schedule as released by the Vatican Feb. 8:
Friday, March 5 (Rome-Baghdad)
— Morning, Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
— Afternoon, Arrival and formal welcome at Baghdad Intercontinental Airport.
— Conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in the VIP hall of Baghdad Intercontinental Airport.
— Courtesy check out with Iraqi President Barham Salih at the presidential palace.
— Assembly with authorities, civil modern society leaders and members of the diplomatic corps in the corridor of the presidential palace. Speech by pope.
— Assembly with bishops, monks, spiritual gentlemen and gals, seminarians and catechists in the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Girl of Deliverance. Speech by pope.
Saturday, March 6 (Baghdad, Najaf, Nasiriyah, Baghdad)
— Early morning, Departure by aircraft for Najaf.
— Arrival at Najaf Airport.
— Courtesy check out to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
— Departure by airplane to Nasiriyah.
— Arrival at Nasiriyah airport.
— Interreligious assembly on the plain of Ur. Speech by pope.
— Departure by plane for Baghdad.
— Arrival at Baghdad International Airport
— Afternoon, celebration of Mass in the Chaldean Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph. Homily by pope.
Sunday, March 7 (Baghdad, Irbil, Mosul, Qaraqosh, Irbil, Baghdad)
— Early morning, Departure by aircraft for Irbil.
— Arrival at Irbil airport. Welcome from the spiritual and civil authorities of the Autonomous Area of Iraqi Kurdistan in the presidential VIP lounge at the airport.
— Departure by helicopter for Mosul.
— Arrival in Mosul.
— Memorial prayer for the victims of the war at Hosh al-Bieaa (church square) in Mosul. Prayer of the pope.
— Departure by helicopter for Qaraqosh.
— Arrival in Qaraqosh.
— Visit with the local community at the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Speech by pope.
— Recitation of the Angelus prayer.
— Transfer to Irbil.
— Afternoon, Celebration of Mass at Franso Hariri Stadium. Homily by pope.
— Departure for Baghdad.
— Arrival at Baghdad Global Airport.
Monday, March 8 (Baghdad, Rome)
— Morning, Farewell ceremony at Baghdad Worldwide Airport.
— Departure by plane for Rome.
— Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino Worldwide Airport.