Bishop Kicanas Urges Solidarity with Iraqis

As President Obama confirmed today a final drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq by Christmas, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas was himself returning from a brief pastoral tour of duty in Baghdad.

He shared his impressions with us and offers a poignant reminder that while the experience in Iraq may be coming to an end for us here in the United States, the residual effects of the war and the uncertainty it has engendered, especially for Iraq’s Christian minority, will persist far into the future for the people of Iraq.

Baghdad–In her book “Kitchen Table Wisdom,” Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen reminds us that while the simple loving gesture of “kissing the boo boo” does not take away the pain and suffering that a child feels, it does take away the loneliness felt in suffering.

Suffering and fear dominate the lives of so many, too many, around our world.

Try as we might, we can’t alleviate the suffering, end the fear, but we can stand in solidarity with those who suffer, who are fearful, to help them realize they are not alone.

I reflected about that as the Airbus in which Bishop George Murry, S.J., and I were passengers prepared for our mid-morning landing at Baghdad International Airport, the former Saddam International Airport.

We were coming to Iraq in early October at the invitation of the bishops of the Chaldean, Latin, Armenian and Syrian Catholic communities there. They had been hoping for some time that bishops from the United States might make a pastoral visit to Baghdad to see first hand what life is like in their country.

Read the full letter here.

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