A drop of hope in a chaos of violence

Ordination in Iraq

The world is wondering, is worried and talks about Iraq, the Mesopotamia of the past, because, quite simply, the country is not doing well. A wave of ongoing violence invades the country without mercy. Also, a terrible confessional revenge takes its place in tearing the fabric off the Iraqi people. Children are terrified, families are leaving the country because disorder is established and has made its home in Iraq.

In this unspeakable chaotic situation, a young Iraqi Dominican presented himself on the 19th of June 2015, to receive diaconal ordination in Baghdad. What madness! What a challenge! We are saying, is it not the risk of love according to the example of Christ? Is this not the unconditional yes to serve the word, liturgy and charity? Yes, by this commitment to the free service of the people, a path of healing will open to demonstrate the love of God on earth. It is a drop of hope that comes to water our life at this moment. A country destabilized by war, a hurt and persecuted church celebrates an ordination in the heart of the capital Baghdad! It really is a rare and special event! In addition, the Latin Cathedral was full of faithful. The presence of the lay Dominican family, sisters and brothers, has been remarkable, this presence has given a sign of solidarity and extraordinary fraternal love. This Mass of diaconal ordination has given us the chance to live a deep and joyful spiritual moment.

This ordination also comes at the time when the Order celebrates its eighth century of birth. This is the moment in which we must remember the generous donations of the Order in Iraq. I cannot let this lovely occasion pass without saluting the processions of brothers who established the Order in Iraq, starting with brother Guillaume Montferra and then brother Riccoldo da Monte di Croce who travelled to Baghdad in 1235 where St Dominic had dreamed of one day opening a mission. So this magnificent Dominican adventure officially began in Iraq in 1750 with the founding Italian brothers. Then, in 1850 our French brothers took on the task of preaching in action and in word the Good News of salvation. Finally, the Iraqi period with Arabic-speaking brothers, who by their zeal and their apostolic enthusiasm continue the Dominican mission in Iraq.

The order celebrates its eighth century with an extraordinary joy and we are celebrating the grace of 265 years of a remarkably fruitful presence. This fruitfulness obviously comes from the projects of the Order since its birth in Iraq. This is also an opportunity to praise the work of the brothers since the printing shop of the Dominican fathers in Mosul, the first in the country, was inaugurated in 1862 passing through the large seminary St. John's which lasted for a century and enriched the local church by its human and theological teaching, and especially by the rich talent of its professors. It is also necessary to think of all the projects in the order as they are educational, charitable and pastoral, medical assistance given to people through the digital archives centre which has a good international reputation, the magazine " La Pensée chrétienne" and our last small project "The academy of human sciences".  It is in these, that the preaching of the Order remains strong in this land of mission.

This feast also requires us to welcome and honour the memory of our brothers who illuminated us by their free gifts, who preceded us in living out the Easter mystery. Their generosity is an example to follow, brother Maurizio Garzoni, italian, "father of kurdologie" was the first to edit the Kurds grammar and vocabulary in 1787, father Jandel was one of the first disciples of father Lacordaire, brother J. -B. Besson, Omez, Jean Maurice Fiey, Michel Parasote, Jean Philippe Lahese Augustin Marmardji, Khalil Kochassarly, Abd-es-Salam Hilwa and Faris Yousif, I cannot name them all.

By this ordination, this drop of hope obviously joins the ongoing story of the mission of the Iraqi Dominican friars.

On this occasion I raise my hands toward the Lord and by the intercession of our father Saint Dominic asking Him to multiply vocations in our Order, and to make this dream come true (a monastery of nuns in Iraq and a Marian shrine in Baghdad).

For pictures of the ordination, click here.

May the joy remain and happy feast to us all.

Fr. Majid o.p.


(21 June 2015)