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Anxious Christians in Baghdad hope for peaceful Easter celebration

Catholic World News - April 03, 2012

Christians in Baghdad expect extra protection from the government this week as they observe Holy Week and Easter.

Catholics have fortified themselves spiritually by intensive fasting during Lent, said Bishop Shlemon Warduni, an auxiliary of the Chaldean Catholic patriarchate. Although acutely conscious of dangers, the shrinking Catholic community plans its usual services—although the Stations of the Cross, traditionally held on the streets, will be followed inside churches this year to avoid possible confrontations. “So far there have been no incidents of violence,” reports Bishop Warduni.

The Catholic community in Baghdad has been severely depleted in recent years, with many families seeking security in other countries. (In Iraq as a whole, the Christian population has been cut in half in the past decade.) Still the Catholic Church reported healthy congregations for Palm Sunday. Bishop Warduni said that the churches in Baghdad “were definitely not as full as in the past, but the turnout was higher than expected and the priests were satisfied.”

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