Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Martyr's Funeral

h/t to Amy:

There is a beautiful video with images of Fr Ragheed's funeral here:

The soundtrack is Fr Ganni singing a Marian hymn along with the choir of the Chaldean community in Sweden.

May we never forget his dedication to his flock, and the bravery of his sub-deacons who travelled with him to protect him from dangers that proved all too real.

Catholic News Service is reporting:
Chaldean Catholic Bishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul was forced to pause during the funeral of an Iraqi priest and three subdeacons due to the weeping of so many in the congregation.

Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni and subdeacons Basman Yousef Daoud, Wadid Hanna and Ghasan Bida Wid were buried after the June 4 funeral in Father Ganni's hometown of Karamless, said a June 5 press statement from the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need.

The four men were killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul June 3 while leaving the Church of the Holy Spirit after having celebrated Sunday Mass.

Father Habib Al Nafali, a Chaldean Catholic priest based in London, told Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic organization funding religious projects in 145 countries, that "people were crying during the funeral service, and for awhile the bishop could not continue speaking."

The priest said many clergy and friends of Father Ganni already are calling him a "martyr of the church."

Iraqi Father Saad Syrop Hanna, 35, who was ordained in Rome in October 2001 alongside Father Ganni, said: "The Christians really are paying a great price. Is there any end for what is happening in Iraq?"

He added that Father Ganni's "death is a great loss for our church in Iraq. I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will transform the blood of these martyrs into new life for the church in Iraq."

Read the rest of the article here.

I am much more saddened by these deaths than I thought I would be. I have never met any of these three men and I do not know anyone who knows them. Despite that, we are all members of the same family...the Church. Our brothers and sisters in the Middle East need our support and prayers. The persecution continues and I am afraid that it will only escalate.

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