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In deciding what to write for Corpus Christi Sunday, I concluded that nothing could improve on these words of Father Ragheed Ganni.
BY Father Owen KearnsPublisher
In deciding what to write for Corpus Christi
Sunday, I concluded that nothing could improve on these words of Father Ragheed
(Iraq) Christians are not theologians; some are even illiterate. And yet inside
of us for many generations one truth has become embedded: Without the Sunday
Eucharist we cannot live.
is true today when evil has reached the point of destroying churches and
killing Christians, something unheard of in Iraq till now. On June 2004 of last
year, a group of young women was cleaning the church to get it ready for Sunday
sister Raghad, who is 19, was among them. As she was carrying a pail of water
to wash the floor, two men drove up and threw a grenade that blew up just a few
yards away from her.
was wounded but miraculously survived. And on that Sunday we still celebrated
the Eucharist. My shaken parents were also there. For me and my community, my
sister’s wounds were a source of strength so that we, too, may bear our cross.
August in St. Paul Church, a car bomb exploded after the 6 p.m. Mass. The blast
killed two Christians and wounded many others. But that, too, was another
miracle — the car was full of bombs but only one exploded. Had they all gone
off together the dead would have been in the hundreds since 400 faithful had
come on that day.
could not believe what had happened. The terrorists might think they can kill
our bodies or our spirit by frightening us, but, on Sundays, churches are
always full. They may try to take our life, but the Eucharist gives it back. …
are days when I feel frail and full of fear. But when, holding the Eucharist, I
say ‘Behold the Lamb of God, behold, who takes away the sin of the world,’ I
feel his strength in me. When I hold the Host in my hands, it is really he who
is holding me and all of us, challenging the terrorists and keeping us united
in his boundless love.”
Father Ragheed Ganni was
shot dead in Mosul on June 3.