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An Iraqi worshipper smiles during the ceremony led by the Pope in Baghdad An Iraqi worshipper smiles during the ceremony led by the Pope in Baghdad  (AFP or licensors)

Baghdad professor: Pope Francis teaches us that change must come from us

Anan Alkass Yousif, a consecrated virgin and professor at Baghdad University, speaks of the importance of the Pope's trip, describing him as a courageous pastor of a small flock, there to convert hearts and change minds.

By Vatican News staff writer

The Holy Father's visit to Iraq, a land which has suffered wars, persecution, terrorism and destruction, for a Baghdad professor is a pure "act of love". Speaking with Vatican News' Massimiliano Menichetti, Anan Alkass Yousif notes that it takes courage to make a journey such as the one the Holy Father is currently making to "the land of Abraham". This courage, she says, "gives us courage", and renews in us "the spirit of love of this country".

Always with us

The professor goes on to note that "we keep saying we are the original inhabitants of this country", but it is not enough. "We need to realise how deeply rooted we truly are in the country, always remembering that the Holy Father is with us."

Yousif continues, "We have always felt loved by him", not only in his prayers and thoughts, but now through his actions too. She stresses the instability of the situation in Iraq, especially now due to the coronavirus. "He is a pastor" coming to take care of his flock. It is just a little flock in Iraq says the professor, but he also "speaks to all Iraqis, conveying a messag of peace, of justice and of equality".  

A message for all Iraqis

On a personal level, Yousif notes that the Pope's visit helped her realise how important it is for her "to stay here in this land". Her mission, she says, as a professor, is to help her students grow "in spirit and as people ... to help them construct a better society, together".

This is a message for all Iraqis, she adds: the Pope's trip, despite it's difficulties, will not be in vain. "It will make all the difference, because hearts will be converted and minds will begin to rethink their previous thoughts". But, she concludes, "it must all start from us ... Where there is no peace there is no justice. The change must start from us". 

 

07 March 2021, 16:06