The Carmel Mission, established in 1773, was the second of the nine missions founded by Saint Junipero Serra.
Pope Francis on Sunday expressed joy at the vitality of the Church in Iraq despite years of fierce persecution.
In his prayer, the pope referred to the city’s Al-Nouri Mosque, where on June 29, 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate, known as the Islamic State, spanning Iraq and Syria.
Love, “even if it seems weak in the world’s eyes, in fact always triumphs,” the pope said March 6 at the Chaldean Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph in Baghdad.
Pope Francis is the first pope in history to visit the Middle Eastern country, fulfilling a hope of St. Pope John Paul II.
Speaking at the ancient site, believed to be the birthplace of Abraham, the pope emphasized the shared heritage of Christians, Muslims and Jews.