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Pray and fast for Iraq, says Archbishop


MEDIA RELEASE - For Immediate Release - Thursday 14 August 2014



In a document released earlier today to over one hundred parishes in the metropolitan and rural areas of Perth, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, the Catholic Archbishop of Perth, is inviting “Catholics, fellow Christian brothers and sisters, and all those who believe in God” to pray to God “to bring about a satisfactory intervention” to the escalating crisis in Iraq.

“The evil and subsequent suffering unfolding in Iraq is not of God's making but is the result of humanity's terrible abuse of God's precious gift of free will,” says the archbishop.

He encourages that people “pray for a change of heart in those who persecute others and that those who are unduly suffering would be given the necessary strength and perseverance to meet their needs in each unique situation”.

The archbishop speaks of “a moral obligation” that we have in the West “to provide sanctuary to those fleeing from their homeland” and he applauds the decision made by France's foreign and interior ministers this week "to help facilitate asylum on [their] territory" and also “the decision made by the Federal Government to open its humanitarian refugee program to as many as 4,000 Iraqi Christians and Yazidis in response to this crisis”.

He echoes words spoken earlier this week by the director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), David Irvine, that “we are not fighting Islam, in Australia or anywhere else. We are fighting the terrorism that kills innocent people, both Muslim and non-Muslim”.

Archbishop Costelloe encourages Catholics and others who believe in God to pray and fast “not in any burdensome manner but out of a concerned heart and as a way of becoming closer to God” who is the source of peace and love. In laying down some suggested methods of prayer and fasting, the archbishop suggests that this is more about “changing and purifying the nature of our hearts than about trying to force God's hand”.

The archbishop offers an adapted prayer for people to pray written by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako:

- ENDS -

Further enquiries: James Parker, Perth Archdiocese Communications and Media Office, M: 0477 365618, E:

A copy of the document, An Archdiocesan Response To The Present Crisis In Iraq, can be downloaded by clickinghere (PDF, 571 KB).


An adapted prayer written by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako:

The plight of Iraq is deep and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening.
Peace is the foundation of life.
Grant the people of Iraq peace and stability that will enable them to live with one another with dignity and joy.
Spare their lives and grant them patience and courage to continue their witness of Christian values with trust and hope.
We ask this in Jesus' name.