Baghdad bishop issues prayer challenge for peace in Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq, Aug 25, 2014 / 04:24 pm (CNA).- A bishop in Baghdad is challenging the faithful across the world to join in 30 minutes of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on Aug. 26 for peace in Iraq and for refugees of violence in the country.

Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Saad Sirop Hanna of Baghdad issued the challenge in a video posted to Facebook.

“It started days ago, when people from different countries in the world started to challenge each other,” he said, in an apparent reference to the ice bucket challenge that has swept social media and sought to raise money and awareness for ALS, or as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“The phenomenon actually stopped me and let me re-think the meaning of ‘challenge’ in our life,” the bishop continued.

“I think that the real challenge is the challenge of evil and immorality that exists in our world. I think that the real challenge is a spiritual challenge – the challenge of evil that we produce in our hearts, in our minds. My thoughts, my actions, my intentions.”

The first step in countering this evil is faith and prayer, Bishop Hanna stated.

Addressing his brothers and sisters in the Church throughout the world, he offered his own challenge: to spend 30 minutes in silent prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Bishop Hanna asked that this take place Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. in Iraq, which is 11 a.m. Eastern Time.

He encouraged people to take pictures of themselves during this time of prayer – either as individuals or groups – and promised to collect these photos and display them on this Facebook page. He also said that he would write a newspaper article about the prayer event.

“We will all be united in prayer for peace in Iraq and for the refugees here in the north of Iraq,” he said. “They are living in very bad conditions. They need our support. They need our prayer.”



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