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  March 2021  
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"The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." 2Cor 9: 7
Reading of the Day

"On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It throws him into convulsions until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.’ Jesus answered, ‘You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.’ While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astounded at the greatness of God. While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’ But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying." Mt 12: 1 - 14

Saint of the Day

From the time he was eight to the day he died, John followed every impulse of his heart. The challenge for him was to rush to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit gave him, not his own human temptations. But unlike many who act impulsively, when John made a decision, no matter how quickly, he stuck with it, no matter what the hardship.

At eight years old, John heard a visiting priest speak of adventures that were waiting in the age of 1503 with new worlds being opened up. That very night he ran away from home to travel with the priest and never saw his parents again.

Pope bids farewell to Iraq after a historic visit
Pope bids farewell to Iraq after a historic visit - Vatican News08 March 2021. Pope Francis concludes his Apostolic Journey to Iraq that took him to 6 cities and sites in the north and south of the country. He comforted the people, especially Catholics and Christians, harshly tried by sectarian violence and terrorism, and appealed for tolerance, fraternity, hope and peace.

By Robin Gomes

'The Church in Iraq is alive': Pope Francis at Mass in Erbil
The Church in Iraq is alive': Pope Francis at Mass in Erbil - Vatican News
At the conclusion of his Apostolic Journey to Iraq, Pope Francis celebrates Sunday Mass with the Iraqi faithful in Erbil’s Franso Hariri Stadium.

By Christopher Wells

Committing to the Pope's message of fraternity and peace in Iraq
Pope Francis arrives to hold a Mass at the "Franso Hariri" stadium in Erbil, Iraq on Sunday
07 March 2021. Claudio Didero, a lay missionary of the Pope John XXIII Community, reflects on the message of peace and fraternity often promoted by Pope Francis and its importance for the people of Iraq.

By Vatican News staff writer

Pope urges Abrahamic religions to pursue path of peace in Iraq
It Is Up to Us' - Praying With Other Faiths in Ur, Pope Francis Visits  Birthplace of Abraham - Exaudi Catholic News
06 March 2021. Pope Francis meets with representatives of the three Abrahamic religions at Ur of the Chaldeans in Iraq, and urges Christians, Muslims, and Jews to journey along a path of peace under the stars of the promise God made to Abraham.

By Devin Watkins

Iraq: Pope’s Prayer of the Sons and Daughters of Abraham
Pope Francis prays with Iraq's religious leaders
06 March 2021. Joined by Muslims, Jews, representatives of different Christian Churches and other Iraqi religious minorities in the Iraqi city of Ur, Pope Francis prays for reconciliation, peace and the strength to rebuild the ravaged nation.

By Linda Bordoni   

Pope stresses fraternity in meeting with Iraq's Grand Ayatollah
Pope stresses fraternity in meeting with Iraq's Grand Ayatollah - Vatican  News06 March 2021. Pope Francis met this Saturday morning in Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Husayni Al-Sistani in a visit which stressed the importance of friendship, mutual respect and dialogue between religious communities.

Vatican News

Pope meets with Iraqi students of Scholas Occurrentes
Pope meets with Iraqi students of Scholas Occurrentes - Vatican News05 March 2021. Pope Francis concluded the first day of his Apostolic Journey to Iraq meeting with participants in a Scholas Occurentes youth program.

By Vatican News staff writer

Pope to Iraqi clergy, religious: Violence and hate are incompatible with religion
Pope to Iraqi clergy, religious: Violence and hate are incompatible with  religion - Vatican News
Pope Francis meets with bishops, clergy and religious in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad, stressing the importance of sowing seeds of reconciliation and fraternal coexistence that can lead to a rebirth of hope for everyone.

By Lydia O’Kane

Pope Francis meets Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani
Pope Francis arrives for a courtesy visit with Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Husayni Al-Sistani
06 March 2021. On the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Iraq, the Pope arrives in the city of Najaf on Saturday morning for a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Husayni Al-Sistani.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis arrives in Iraq
Pope Francis arrives in Iraq
05 March 2021. Pope Francis arrives at Baghdad international airport, kicking off his 33rd Apostolic Journey abroad and the very first papal visit to Iraq.

By Linda Bordoni

Messages of peace and blessing: Papal telegrams from flight to Iraq
Pope Francis boards the papal plane at Rome's Fiumicino airport
05 March 2021. Pope Francis sends telegrams to heads of state as the papal plane flies over their countries, headed for Iraq.

As is customary, Pope Francis has sent telegrams to heads of state of countries the papal plane flies over as it heads to Iraq, where the Holy Father will be making an Apostolic Visit from 5-8 March.

Catholic aid agencies: Rebuilding lives and livelihoods in Iraq
Regina Lynch, Director of Projects, Aid to the Church in Need International, ROACO Representative04 March 2021. The Pope's visit to Iraq will raise awareness on the presence and important role played by local Christians. Regina Lynch directs projects assisting Iraqis and is travelling with Pope Francis as the ROACO aid agencies representative.

By Anne Preckel

Pope to Iraq: 'I come as pilgrim of peace, seeking fraternity, reconciliation'
Pope to Iraq: 'I come as pilgrim of peace, seeking fraternity,  reconciliation' - Vatican News04 March 2021. Pope Francis sends a video message to the people of Iraq, to share a message of peace, fraternity and comfort, as he prepares for his Apostolic Visit which begins on Friday.

By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ

Abdel Salam: Pope’s visit to Iraq significant for entire Arab region
Pope Francis meeting Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam in the Vatican in February 2019.04 March 2021. On the eve of Pope Francis' apostolic visit to Iraq, the secretary-general of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity underscores the values of solidarity and coexistence emphasized by the Pope in his encyclical Fratelli tutti.

Vatican News

Archbishop of Erbil: Papal visit is a gift for all Iraqi people
Erbil prepares for Apostolic Visit by Pope Francis
04 March 2021. Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil is calling for prayers for the papal visit and expresses his hopes for positive outcomes. He will welcome the Pope on Sunday when he arrives in the northern autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

By Thaddeus Jones & Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Iraq: Cardinal Sako says �?something has already changed’ in the nation
Cardinal Louis Sako speaks to the media about the preparations for Pope Francis' arrival in Iraq03 March 2021. Awaiting Pope Francis’ arrival in Iraq on Friday, 5 March, Iraqis of all faiths are preparing to welcome him. The Chaldean Patriarch, Cardinal Sako, says hopes are high for a spiritual renewal in the name of fraternity.

By Stefano Leszczynski & Linda Bordoni

EU Bishops call for nations to protect work-free Sunday
People enjoy Sunday leisure time near the Pantheon in Rome, Italy04 March 2021. The Bishops of the European Union and the European Sunday Alliance are urging EU leaders to protect synchronized free-time, which most nations traditionally observe on Sunday.

By Lisa Zengarini

Christians in Iraq: The past century in a nutshell
Christians in Iraq repair a cross in Qaraqosh, in Nineveh province
04 March 2021. After centuries of Ottoman rule, Iraq emerged as a political unit of its own one hundred years ago. Over the past century, Iraqi Christians have witnessed times of wealth and peaceful coexistence, but they have also had to endure some horrible wars and persecutions.

By Emil Anton

Pope calls for end to violence against Myanmar protesters
Tear gas floats around demonstrators at a protest in Yangon03 March 2021. Pope Francis appeals for an end to violence against anti-coup protesters in Myanmar, and calls on the military junta to release political prisoners and allow the country to continue its journey toward democracy.

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis asks for prayers for his visit to Iraq
An Iraqi citizen takes a "selfie" against a banner welcoming Pope Francis03 March 2021. In the run-up to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Iraq, he asks the faithful to accompany his journey with prayers so it may bear fruit for the Middle Eastern nation.

By Linda Bordoni