The message of Cardinal Patriarch Sako to the Chaldean bishops and priests in Iraq
Patriarch Sako addressed a message to the Chaldean bishops and priests in Iraq in the occasion of their meeting in Ankawa17-19 September 2018 to look for new lines of a pastoral plan for young people and families suitable to their current circumstances and in light of the next synod of youth in Rome 3-28 October,
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts.
It is my pleasure to begin with greeting you individually, and to thank you for your participation in this meeting. I hope that each one of us will take his responsibility that enable “this gathering” to come out with serious and useful suggestions that are appropriate for our current situation and reflect strongly on the teamwork and leadership required from “Shepherds” at this time.
I would like to emphasize the importance of this meeting, discussion and consultation on certain themes of our mission and our comprehensive pastoral work as bishops and priests during this difficult circumstances and “totally different” compared to the past.
Today, we can neither recite our liturgical celebration “robotically” nor use the “spoon feeding” mechanism to teach our people the principles of faith away from comprehensive words and life testimony.
Since the Gospel is a life project, and a message of hope, we “as custodians of faith” must be prepared to care seriously and integrally about the “continuity of the teaching of the Church. We should faithfully update it and present it compatible with Tradition, but with the reality and culture of this generation, taking into account the mentality, economic, social, political and psychological transformation. This way we will be able to accompanying our people in these harsh conditions by expressing our closeness, readiness to serve and love to them.
The Church (represented by us, who are entrusted with communicating its’ message to people), must seek a new approach to accomplish this important mission, such as the use of social media. Similarly, Liturgy should be expressive, understandable and destined to become occasions of grace and “fountain of living” for faithful. As you know, it is our Liturgy, which kept our faith along our history even during persecutions.
Today, the Church should be more aware of its inclusive role, by seeing, listing, analyzing, interacting, answering the questions of our people as well as undertaking various activities in order to serve and form them. Otherwise, in the absence of searching, suggesting and renewing, the Church would be rigid and helpless.
Therefore, it is the obligation of the Church (all of us through it) to take care of people’s affairs, including social justice, equality and peace.
The local Church (wherever is located geographically) must pay total attention to the “reality” of its’ people: their concerns, worries, fears and aspirations to face them with firm determination, with deliberate, thoughtful and unhurried stances. I recall here what St. Paul the Apostle recommended in the letter to Galatians: “They asked nothing more than that we should remember to help the poor, as indeed I was anxious to do in any case” (2/10).