Sunday, January 17, 2016

ASIA/IRAQ - The Chaldean Patriarch: we offer the "fast of Nineveh"

Baghdad - Chaldean Christians, in accordance with its liturgical tradition, are preparing to observe the so-called "fast of Nineveh" , preceding the three weeks of Lent. For three days, from Monday, January 18, the Chaldeans are eager to follow this spiritual practice abstaining from food and drinks from midnight until noon the next day, avoiding to eat foods of animal origin during the three days.

On the eve of the "fast of Nineveh", the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Luis Raphael I has invited all the faithful of the Chaldean Church to pray and live abstinence from food in order to ask the Lord for the return of the gift of peaceful coexistence in Iraq and throughout the troubled region of the Middle East.The practice of the "fast of Nineveh" refers to the fasting called by the prophet Jonah to the inhabitants of that corrupt city, which stood in the present Mosul, now in the hands of the jihadist of the Islamic Caliphate . That fast - so we read in the Bible – touched God and saved the city from annihilation. In the statement released by the official media of the Patriarchate, the Primate of the Chaldean Church also recalls the words of St. Ephrem, who highlighted that the fasting of Nineveh was a model of sincere repentance. In the statement, sent to Agenzia Fides, Patriarch Louis Raphael repeated that Iraq is faced with a "deadly conflict", fueled by religious fanaticism, and calls everyone to prayer and penance to ask for conversion and invoke the waiver of all violence and war.

Loving God,
Over these days,
Remember those who lived in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains.
In your love for them,
Grant them freedom, peace and mercy.

Bless those who support them in the camps.
Bless those who provide food, water, clothes and security.
Open our hearts to them in their suffering.
Open our hearts to them in prayer.

Hear the cry of the people of the Middle East for peace and healing.
Hear our desire to be in  prayerful solidarity with them.
Uplift those in exile and sustain them.
Grant them a safe return home.
Source: ACP

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