Iraq’s Christian communities in the area were dealt a severe blow when they were scattered by the Daesh onslaught in 2014, further shrinking the country’s already dwindling Christian population. Many hope their struggle to endure will get a boost from a historic visit by Pope Francis planned in March.
Among the places on his itinerary is Qaraqosh, where this week the Vatican and Iraqi flags fluttered from light poles, some adorned with the pope’s image.
Francis’ visit, his first foreign trip since the coronavirus pandemic and the first-ever by a pope to Iraq, is a sign that “You’re not alone,” said Monsignor Segundo Tejado Muñoz, the undersecretary of the Vatican’s development office. “There’s someone who is thinking of you, who is with you. And these signs are so important. So important.”