Pope Francis is sending a personal envoy to Iraq to show solidarity with Christians who have been forced from their homes by Islamic militants. Pope Francis is sending Cardinal Fernando Filoni, a former papal nuncio, or ambassador, to Iraq and Jordan.
“The pope wanted to mobilize, given the serious ongoing emergency,” said the Vatican’s chief spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Filoni is expected to deliver a personal message of solidarity and support from the pope, as well as financial aid to those affected by the violence.
The pope also called upon all nuncios in the region to convey his message to local authorities and churches.
Filoni comes from the southern Italian town of Taranto. He was papal nuncio to Jordan and Iraq from 2001 to 2006 and remained in Baghdad throughout the allied invasion and years of occupation. Now he heads the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.