By Olivier Labesse

Now that Mosul has been liberated, will the Christians be able to return to their homes soon? According to Msgr. Petros Mouche, Syriac Catholic archbishop of the second largest city in Iraq, it is too early for this, but he emphasised the importance of learning from the events of the past and of restoring peace. Below is the short interview Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) conducted with Archbishop Mouche   

Aid to the Church in Need has agreed to support the rebuilding of the Greek Orthodox cemetery and the transfer of the remains of Orthodox and Catholic Christians of various rites who died in Aleppo between April 2013 and December 2016 to the Christian cemetery of Jabal Al-Saydé. 

By Oliver Maksan

Dust and mud brick houses everywhere – as far as the eye can see. The houses indistinguishable in colour from the ground on which they stand. Trees are few and far between. The road leading northwards from the Sudanese capital Khartoum shimmers in the burning heat. The temperature is 45°C according to the thermometer. At a certain point the car turns off into an unmade road with deep potholes, into a residential suburb. “Welcome to the Saint Kizito School of Daressalaam”, says our host, Father Daniele, as we stand in the courtyard of the school, which is named after the youngest of the Ugandan martyrs. This Italian priest is a member of the clergy of the Catholic archdiocese of Khartoum. His fluent Arabic enables him to communicate with the people of his parish in their own language. “I belong to the Neo-Catechumenal Way and I studied at our seminary in Beirut. I‘ve been living in Sudan now for over 10 years.” A move he has never regretted, ever, he tells us. “But it is an extremely difficult pastoral field we work in here as priests”, he adds. This has to do more than anything with the life circumstances of his parishioners. “They are totally uprooted people. The parishioners we are dealing with here are for the most part former country dwellers from the Nuba mountains in the south of Sudan. Their lives there were marked by the customs and traditions of their villages. But here, far from their homeland, they are completely lost.” Many of them arrived many years ago already in the Khartoum area, in search of work or in order to escape the fighting in their homeland. But most of them can only survive as day labourers, and this eats away at the men‘s sense of self-worth. “Many of them simply drift around idly when they don‘t have any work”, says Father Daniele. And many have no work at all. “In their traditional view of themselves, they are herders and warriors. But since there is no fighting no herding to be done here, all the work falls on the shoulders of the womenfolk.” 

The Borana people live in the far south of Ethiopia, in a region bordering on Kenya. In many ways the Catholic Church is in her infancy here, since Catholic missionaries only arrived in the region for the first time 45 years ago. In that time, the Holy Spirit Fathers (Spiritans) who work in this area, have established three parishes and several schools. 

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is supporting a project for the rebuilding of a multipurpose sports centre for the Armenian Christian community  

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