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U.S. Bishops Express Solidarity With Suffering and Persecuted Christians, Receive Thanks From Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

December 28, 2011
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops extended their prayerful solidarity “to all persecuted persons throughout the world,” sending letters to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem regarding the Church’s plight in the homeland of Jesus and to the Church in Nigeria in the wake of a Christmas attack.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Church in Nigeria at this time of loss and sorrow. We pray that the New Year will bring peace to your beloved country,” wrote Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, in a December 27 letter to Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja. Bishop Pates is chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

In a December 22 letter to His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Bishop Pates joined USCCB president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, in extending their prayerful solidarity “to all persecuted persons throughout the world, but in a particular way to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering in the region of our Savior’s birth.”

“Our Conference of Bishops is acutely aware that the Churches of the Middles East are caught in situations of conflict and violence that have put enormous strains on the ancient Christian presence there,” the bishops wrote.

In a December 23 letter, the Patriarch replied, “It is heartwarming to know of your concern and support for the continuing presence and future of our Christians in the Holy Land.”

The letter to Archbishop Onaiyekan is online at:

The letter to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is online at:

The response from the Latin Patriarch is online at:

Keywords: religious freedom, International Justice and Peace, Christmas, attacks, Nigeria, Jerusalem, Holy Land, Christ’s birth, U.S. bishops, USCCB, prayer, solidarity, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop John Onaiyekan, Abuja, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Bishop Richard Pates, Des Moines, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, New York, persecuted, suffering, Christians, Catholics

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