Thursday, 17 March 2011

'I will be a soldier!'

Archbishop Bashar Warda of Iraq
(second from left) helps launch
Persecuted and Forgotten?
Archbishop Bashar Warda is on the last leg of his visit to the UK as Aid to the Church in Need's guest. In Scotland he helped to launch Persecuted and Forgotten? our latest report on Christian persecution - to a blaze of media interest - followed by a flying visit to Ireland where he was welcomed by our Irish office.

Today he is back in the country for a full itinerary including a meeting at the Foreign Office, a reception, a press conference and rounding off the day by concelebrating 5.30pm Mass at Westminster Cathedral with Archbishop Vincent Nichols followed by talks in Westminster Cathedral Hall. More about this event

Before he came, there was concern that the schedule would be too taxing for him after such a long flight from home, but Bishop Warda was stoic. He said that this was an important opportunity to raise the subject of Christian persecution and for him to give witness to the suffering of the Christian community in Iraq. He said: "I will be a soldier for the week!"  So today, he is soldiering on to get the voice of the persecuted Church heard.

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