A large group of displaced Iraqi children living in a makeshift camp
in Erbil, Iraq, made their First Communion on Friday (27 May).
Out of the 5,500 people living in Erbil’s Aishty 2 camp for the
displaced, the majority – more than 2,000 – are children. Of these, 470
are making their First Communion in three different groups between 27
May and 10 June.
All of the children are from the Syriac-Catholic rite, and most fled
the city of Qaraqosh, Iraq, with their families when Islamic State
terrorists attacked on the night of 6 August 2014, according to a report
by Catholic News Agency.
Syriac-Catholics have now been left without any official diocese or
headquarters. Residing in a largely Chaldean-dominated Erbil, they have
been welcomed by the local Church.
Friday’s Mass was celebrated by Syriac-Catholic Archbishop of Mosul
Yohanno Petros Moshe in the camp’s large, prefabricated church.
With a capacity for roughly 800 people, the church started out as a
tent when the Christian refugees first poured into Erbil two years ago,
asking for a place to pray. Now it serves as the main parish for the
city’s Aishty camp, which is the largest in Erbil and is divided into
three smaller camps: Aishty 1, 2 and 3.
The majority of people in the camp are from Qaraqosh, which is where
the former See of their Church had been located before ISIS’ assault in