by Tomaso Mammo*
On the first Sunday of Advent, young people in Kirkuk, an
archdiocese in northern Iraq, raised funds for the city's poor kids. At the
express wish of Mgr Louis Sako, this initiative of solidarity for children and
the needy is central to Christmas celebrations. The money raised, as indicated
by sources inside the archbishopric, will go to "Christians and Muslims." The faithful's
generosity "surprised everyone."
Sunday, Mgr Sako asked the boys and girls of Kirkuk-scene of a bloody power
struggle between Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds and Shias for control of the oil fields
around the city-to support fund raising in the city's four parishes. The initiative
is part of the events and activities that characterise the weeks of Advent
ahead of Christmas.
his appeal, the archbishop said that the birth of Christ is "not a past event" for
Christmas is a message of "hope, dynamism and sharing" with others that is
still valid nowadays. The prelate also stressed the fact that the feast day is
a sign of faith working "through love".
many people have helped us in the past during times of tribulation and
suffering. Now it is our turn, as a token of our gratitude, to give others a
helping hand. Compassion towards our suffering brothers, showing them our
solidarity, is an integral part of our faith."
order of the archbishop, the money will be "distributed to Christian and Muslim
orphans" without distinctions of religion or ethnicity. Some of the money will
also go to the Children's Hospital, to poor families, and sick people in need
of treatment and drugs.
money will be handed over by "Santa Clause groups" who will bring "Christ's joy
to their hearts."
in Iraq from the Order of Discalced Carmelites (ODC)