National Catholic Register

Opinion

A Victory in Iraq

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 Kearns

Publisher

June 10-16, 2007 Issue | Posted 6/5/07 at 9:00 AM

 

In deciding what to write for Corpus Christi Sunday, I concluded that nothing could improve on these words of Father Ragheed Ganni.

“Mosul (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.

“This 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 service.

“My 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.

“She 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.

“Last 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.

“People 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. …

“There 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.