The sacramental vessel was used for target practice and serves as a reminder of the blood of the martyrs and the ultimate victory of Christ.
The chalice from a Catholic Church in Qarakosh, Iraq, still stands, untoppled by a bullet that pierced its side.
It’s an eloquent and inspiring reminder of the suffering of the 140,000 Christians who were forced to flee their homeland during the Islamic State’s occupation of Northern Iraq.
Over 1,000 Christians were murdered during the subsequent civil war, and Christian churches were destroyed and ransacked, as Islamist terrorists tried to establish their “caliphate” in what was once one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world.
Today, there is hope for a Christian future in Iraq, as, thanks to the efforts of Aid to the Church in Need and aid groups such as the Knights of Columbus, some 45 percent of those who fled have returned to their homes, and the reconstruction of churches and schools is underway.
On November 23, Catholics in Washington, DC, kneeled before the damaged sacramental vessel as they gathered in prayer and reflection to give witness to Christian martyrs and those who are today being persecuted for their faith.
The Vespers service, “A Night of Witness,” was sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need and held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Aleteia’s John Burger reports on the evening of prayer and reflection here: