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Iraqi Refugees Send Pope Francis A Gift And An Appeal For Prayers

July 27, 2016

“Oh, Holy Father, we appeal to you to mention us in your prayers and to mention our country, Iraq, so that the Lord would reinstate peace there and in all the countries that seek peace, protect people from the evil and injustices prevailing in the world, and lead the sinners — who conduct evil deeds — into the right path in life. May the Lord touch their hearts with love and mercy.”

This was stated in a letter from the Iraqi refugee women who fled the Islamic State group violence when forced to renounce their Christian faith.

Unable to obtain visas to attend the World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, they sent, along with the letter, a gift - a hand-sewn chasuble made from the remains of altar cloth.

“We would like to present to you this chasuble in the hope that you would wear it when you celebrate Holy Mass and pray for us. It is a symbol of our love to you and a testimony of our appreciation for you,” they said in their letter.

The chasuble is made with ivory coloured cloth, in the Arabic checkered ‘Keffiyeh’ pattern,with a gold braid and yellow threads, which symbolise the colour of the Vatican – gold. It was their way of making “something useful and beautiful to glorify the Lord from whatever is rejected and detested”.

The handmade chasuble is a product of the Rafidian or Mespotamian project that was begun to help refugees, currently in Jordan, earn a livelihood by developing a skill. By teaching the refugee women to make and sell hand-sewn articles, the project would enable them to settle in any other country and support themselves and their families, thereby restoring their dignity. 

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