New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, is traveling to Iraqi Kurdistan this week, according to a press release from the organization.
The cardinal is traveling with CNEWA board member Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre; CNEWA President Msgr. John Kozar; and executive director of Catholic Charities for the New York archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan.
According to the press release, the purpose of this pastor visit is fourfold:
- Demonstrate solidarity with the families — many of whom are Christian — displaced when ISIS swept through northern Iraq in summer 2014. The delegation will visit displaced families taking refuge in camps and villages; stop at schools, nurseries and clinics serving their needs; and pray together in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
- Show gratitude and solidarity with the caregivers — the priests, sisters and laity who, although displaced as well, have responded in meeting the needs of those expelled by ISIS. The pastoral visit will highlight the efforts of the religious sisters and parish priests who have partnered with CNEWA in setting up schools, nurseries and clinics.
- Demonstrate solidarity with and support for the leadership of the local church. The delegation will spend time with the patriarchs and bishops of the Chaldean and Syriac Catholic churches, the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.
- Assert the Christian commitment to support all those wounded by ISIS: Christian, Muslim and Yazidi.
[Stephanie Yeagle is NCR managing editor.]