Three Belgian priests, Bishop Guy Harpigny (Tournai), Bishop Jozef De Kesel (Bruges), and Bishop Léon Lemmens, the Auxiliary Bishop for the vicariate of Flemish Brabant and Mechelen, will travel to Northern Iraq from September 17th-21st. They will be received as guests by the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Belgian Bishops’ Conference stated in a press release on Wednesday.
“We cannot leave the Christians of the Middle East to their fate,” the bishops said.
The Belgian Bishops’ Conference has accepted the invitation by the Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, Louis Raphael I Sako, and the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bishop Bashar Matti Warda, to come and “encourage in person the Christians of Northern Iraq as well as numerous refugees, both Christian and of other faiths.”
The Catholic community is especially active in that area thanks to, among others, Aid to the Church in Need (Fondation catholique de Droit Pontifical Kerk in Nood), which helped to organise this trip, and non-governmental organisations Caritas International and Jesuit Refugee Service. The bishops will visit the projects of those three charity organisations, among other destinations.