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WATCH: Pope Francis Leaves Uplifting Message to Catholics in Iraq

Wrapping up his historic visit to Iraq, Pope Francis expressed his huge admiration for Catholics in the country. 

On Sunday, March 7, during his concluding Mass in Erbil for his Apostolic Journey to Iraq, Pope Francis expressed his huge admiration for Catholics in the country.

“Today, I can see at first hand that the Church in Iraq is alive,” the Pope said. “[I could see] that Christ is alive and at work in this, His holy and faithful people.” (Read: Catholics Place Statue of Mary on War-Damaged Church in Iraq)

Talking about the recent war that damaged most parts of Iraq and chased away many Catholics from the country, Pope Francis said that forgiveness may only be attained through the cleansing of one’s heart.

According to the Pope, our hearts must be cleansed “of the falsehoods that stain them, from hypocritical duplicity,” of “deceptive securities”; of “baneful temptations of power and money.” (Read: 7 Prayers From the Bible About Forgiveness)

Jesus Christ, the Pope added, “wants to anoint every hurt, to heal every painful memory, and to inspire a future of peace and fraternity in this land.”

Apostolic Visit to Iraq

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Pope Francis arrives for a visit with the community at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, Iraq, March 7, 2021. (Photo from CNS photo/Paul Haring)

About 10,000 people flocked to Erbil’s Franso Hariri Stadium on Sunday to hear Pope Francis’s Eucharistic Liturgy. The event, which was livestreamed in many parts of Iraq and across the world, had tens of thousands of followers in social media, radio, television, and other online platforms.

From March 5 to 8, Pope Francis’s widely anticipated visit to the cities of Baghdad, Najaf, Ur, Erbil, Mosul, and Qaraqosh was covered by different media outlets all around the world. It comes as the tour marks his 33rd apostolic journey as a pope, and the first visit of a Holy Pontiff to the Middle Eastern country.

In his parting words, the Pope reminded Christians in Iraq of a quote from Matthew’s Gospel: “You are all brothers.” (Read: A Look Into the Pope’s Relationship With World Leaders)

He said that only when they learn to look beyond their differences and see one another as humans will they be able to begin an effective process of rebuilding the country.

Watch the Pope’s March 7 Mass in Iraq below:

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