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(from ONE Autumn 2016)

To Be a Seminarian in Iraq
Posted: 12 Sep 2016

CNEWA’s chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, visits Chaldean seminaries in Erbil this past April.  (photo: Courtesy of Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil) 

CNEWA continues to support the spiritual formation of priests and sisters as one of its core programs. For the men studying to join the priesthood in Kurdistan, a region in northern Iraq, this reliable support helps sustain them even as danger is within striking distance.

One CNEWA donor shared a letter she received from Rody Butrus, a seminarian she supports through our program currently beginning his theological studies at Babel College in Erbil.

“I am originally from Alqosh Diocese,” he writes. “I want to share with you some facts about our living situation.

“Since 6 August 2014, ISIS has occupied 60 percent of our diocese. At this time, we are very close to ISIS; in fact we are only 18 kilometers [about 11 miles] away.

“It’s a very dangerous situation living here, but we are still living our daily lives. We had a very difficult time; we lost many people and our churches were destroyed. They wanted to erase our history, invading our villages and many other things.

“We have hardships, and many daily challenges,” he says, but adds, “I am happy with my call. I hope to remain close to people, close to my church, and I hope to be able to give hope to all my families and friends.”