The pope humbly kept the donation private, until an Iraqi cardinal released a letter of thanks.
You can get Aleteia inspiration and news in your inbox. Our specially curated newsletter is sent each morning. The best part? It's free.
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them …” Matthew 6:1
While on his historic trip to Iraq in March, Pope Francis made a sizable donation to help families in need. The pope took a page out of Matthew 6, conducting his charitable efforts in private. That the world knows about this donation at all is thanks to a public letter of gratitude from the Chaldean patriarch, Cardinal Louis Sako.
In a report from CNA, Cardinal Sako said he hoped that the pope’s action will inspire “the intentions of the great world powers.” He said:
Francis “sowed awareness of the importance of accepting and respecting diversity, behaving as different brothers, called to love each other and help each other to build situations in which every man lives with dignity, freedom and equal rights and duties.”
According to CruxNow, the donation totaled $350,000. Of this sum, $250,000 will be distributed to needy families in Baghdad, $50,000 will be handled by the Chaldean Church in Mosul, and the remaining $50,000 will be distributed by the Syriac Catholic archdiocese that includes Qaraqosh.
Of the papal gift, Cardinal Sako wrote in the statement:
“The donation is a sign of just how real and concrete the pope’s love for the whole Iraqi people is.” The cardinal added, “We have already distributed 12,000 packages of food throughout the country.“
Cardinal Sako went on to note that the donations will go to help the communities of Iraq, regardless of race or religion. He said that the Catholic bishops of Iraq had the “joyful” duty of helping families across the country in the pope’s name.