Details, from CNA:
Following the liberation of Mosul, Iraq, from the hands of the Islamic State, Christians are cautiously returning to the city. And as they return, so does the Mass. Fr. Luis Montes, a priest of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, celebrated Mass earlier this month at Saint George Monastery. The priest traveled to Mosul to record part of a documentary entitled Guardianes de la Fe (Guardians of the Faith), which seeks to show the reality of life for Christians in Iraq and Syria. In a video posted on the Amigos de Irak (Friends of Iraq) Facebook page, Fr. Montes said that the Mass was celebrated Aug. 9 – a month after Mosul’s liberation – on the feast day of St. Edith Stein, who died a martyr in a Nazi concentration camp. The priest said it was “a great gift of God” to be able to celebrate the feast day of a martyr in the monastery, which “surely gave many martyrs to the Church.” Pointing to the damage to the monastery entrance, he said that he believes the lower level may have been “used as a prison at some time, (as) the Christians left their names there written on the walls as a witness.” Located in the eastern part of the city, the monastery was badly damaged by ISIS militants. “Rubble everywhere, the stone facing on walls knocked off, all the religious statues destroyed,” Fr. Montes said. “The grotto of the Virgin Mary destroyed…Crosses set into the walls were chopped off with sledgehammers so no trace would remain of anything that is Christian, of anything that is Jesus Christ.” In the chapel where they celebrated Mass, the altar was stripped of its marble adornments, and the walls had been damaged. The experience of celebrating the Eucharist amidst so much devastation was awe-inspiring, Fr. Montes said. “In this place, which has been attacked for being Christian, the contemplation of the Mystery of the Cross, which is renewed in Holy Mass, had so much power,” he reflected.
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