Ahead of Papal Visit, Iraq Closes Houses of Worship Due to COVID

Less than three weeks from Pope Francis’ highly anticipated trip to Iraq, the local government on Feb.14 announced new restrictions to try to curb the spread of COVID-19, which includes the closure of all houses of worship until the last day of his March 5-8 visit.

Iraqi Prelate Still Confident in Papal Visit Despite Recent Terrorism

Despite renewed security concerns after a series of recent terrorist attacks, one of Iraq’s top prelates has said preparations for Pope Francis’ upcoming visit are still underway, calling it a sign of hope that peace is possible in the war-torn nation.

Iraqi Archbishop Says Papal Visit a ‘Courageous’ Decision

Church leaders in Iraq have praised Pope Francis’ decision to come in March amid a pandemic as a brave decision, voicing hope that his presence in the country will send a much-needed message of peace and solidarity, and will encourage Christians to stay, despite present difficulties.

Pope Francis Plans to Visit Iraq in March

Barring any obstacles caused by the global pandemic, Pope Francis is set to begin international travel again in 2021 by visiting Iraq in March, which would make him the first pope to visit this nation.

Christians Called to Return Home to Iraq, Restore and Rebuild Community

With the defeat of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq, the Iraqi prime minister has called on Christians to return home to Iraq. Mustafa Al-Kazemi said, in a statement issued by the government, that Iraq was “serious about providing assistance to our Christian families and solving their problems.”

Christians of Mosul, Iraq, Still Displaced

The self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State (ISIS), whose territory once spanned parts of Iraq and Syria, has been extinguished, but the group’s influence is very much alive. In Mosul, Iraq, a city that’s about 250 miles north of Baghdad, two years after the defeat of ISIS, it is still impossible for Christians to return to their homes because it remains unsafe for them.