Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “In Iraq and around the world, may Christians and those who believe in the One and merciful God put an end to all enmity and promote universal brotherhood.” With this hope, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri – prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Papal delegate at the ceremony for “Ecclesiastical Communion” – addressed the new Chaldean Patriarch, His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako I, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica.
During the rite, the cardinal recalled what was written yesterday by Benedict XVI in a message addressed to the Patriarch to congratulate him on his election.
“I beg the Lord to fill you with every grace and blessing. May He tirelessly enlighten you to proclaim the Gospel in the living tradition that dates back to St. Thomas the Apostle. May the Good Shepherd and Lord sustain you in the faith of the fathers and grant you the ardour of the martyrs of yesterday and today to preserve the spiritual and liturgical patrimony of the venerable Chaldean Church, of which you are Pater et Caput “.
“May your ministry – concluded the Pope – be a comfort to Chaldean faithful in the homeland and in the diaspora, but also the entire Catholic community and the Christians who live in the land of Abraham, being conducive to reconciliation, mutual acceptance and peace for the Iraqi people”.
Card. Sandri stressed the Holy Father’s mention in the letter of “the grace of martyrdom, not only as a precious gift of the past, but as a permanent dimension of Christian authenticity.”
Recalling his recent visit to the Iraq, Card. Sandri invoked “special graces and blessings upon you, because as the Good Shepherd you may dry the tears of many people of Iraq, and then comfort, encourage, correct, always pacify brethren and children and accompany them in their testimony. With a gentle and firm pastoral service, Your Beatitude be a faithful guide, effective and fully open to cura animarum. At the school of the Holy Virgin Mary, may you keep the Gospel in your heart to be a model of discipleship and a sign of hope. “