WASHINGTON - Attending the installation of Patriarch Louis Sako as the new leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad, Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, looked around at the large crowd gathered in St. Joseph Cathedral and what he saw gave him a sense of hope.

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VATICAN CITY - Iraqi Catholics fleeing physical danger in their homeland often find themselves unprepared for the moral threats awaiting their families in the United States, said the head of Chaldean Catholics in the Western U.S.

Seeing a lack of respect for the unborn, altered definitions of marriage and a general disregard for Christian values means Chaldean Catholic families settling in the United States often find themselves in a world they are not at all accustomed to, Chaldean Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo of the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle of San Diego told Catholic News Service May 17.

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The Iraqi family sponsored by Cardinal Thomas Collins is in the final stretch of its long road to refuge. The Iraqi Christian refugees should be in Canada before the end of April thanks to an offer of sponsorship by Collins.

Members of the archdiocese of Toronto administrative staff have raised the money, drawn up a 15-page settlement plan and gathered together a hope chest to make sure the family will find a warm welcome in Toronto.

The office workers have come together to take full responsibility for the refugees, said Martin Mark, executive director of the archdiocese of Toronto’s Office for Refugees.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

OTTAWA - The violence plaguing Syria has forced the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) to put many of its projects there on hold, even though Christians so far do not seem to have been specifically targeted.

But support for Iraqi Christians who fled to Iraq, many of whom struggle to survive in the slums of Damascus, is still ongoing, said CNEWA Canada national director Carl Hétu.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - While Syrians endure shelling and sniper fire from their government, Iraqi refugees among them are hunkered down in the Sayyida Zainab neighbourhood of Damascus hoping they can get out before things get much worse.

“If you stay away from any mass demonstrations, stay away from any political activity, if you stay in your neighbourhood, in your church where the Iraqi refugees are, nobody will target you,” is the advice the Office of Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT) is giving hundreds of Iraqi refugees that Toronto parishes and religious communities have sponsored to come to Canada.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

VATICAN CITY - Gunmen shooting at guards keeping watch over the archbishop's residence in Kirkuk in northern Iraq triggered a firefight, leaving two of the gunmen dead and five policemen wounded.

Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako told Vatican Radio that he had just returned home from a parish visit before the drive-by attack Jan. 11.

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LONDON - Chaldean Catholic officials have canceled traditional Christmas Eve midnight Masses because of security risks.

Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk in northern Iraq told the agency Aid to the Church in Need that Christians will spend Christmas in "great fear" because of the risk of new attacks.

All services and Masses have been scheduled for daylight hours, he said in an interview with Rome-based AsiaNews.

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