The Ankawa Youth Meeting (AYM) 22nd to 24th of August brought together Christian youth from across seven archdioceses. The Meeting counted around 1,000 participants from more than 60 parishes from different Iraqi cities including Baghdad, Basra, Duhok, Erbil, Kirkuk, Mosul and Sulaymaniyah. It was a very important event because a lot of the youth feel isolated and insecure in a war tom country.

The goal of the program was to build solidarity and group spirit amongst all our Chaldean Catholic parishes. It provided a great opportunity for the youth to travel and to meet in one place for three days of faith, friendship, inspiration and personal spiritual gain.

Mons. Warda, archbishop from Erbil, thanks ACN for the support to “the very important project for our youth formation. In these very difficult times they need our strength, guidance and pastoral care.”

The Christian minorities in Iraq have long been the victim of discrimination, injustice, inequality, rape, murder, physical violence and displacement: trauma and distress are major outcomes over the last two decades. Continued war and ISIS have resulted in decimating the Christian communities through mass emigration to countries where they can freely practice their faith and have equal opportunities for work.

“Young Christians are the most mobile and hence most likely to leave.  The Church is countering this by strengthening the youth in their faith, formation, and Christian leadership, self-esteem and encouraging them to be active members of the Church and its evangelical mission.  Most of them have grown up in a war tom country: ISIS may have been defeated but they will return in another shape or form. Being a minority in a Muslim country is not an easy proposition and that is why we need to give them our constant support.”

ACN will also support the Festival of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross 9-13 September 2019.

It is expected to attract 3,000 people that will participate in different events. The youth will organize a 5 days Spiritual Festival. But the event includes evangelization activities for the whole family catering for different age groups from the very young to the elderly. The need for young Christian leaders is great and the youth programs are designed to do exactly this. The activities will include:

  • Market stalls to raise funds to support young adults with disabilities for the charity Love & Joy.
    • A day for traditional cloths, foods, handicrafts and traditional games.
    •          A charity marathon

In addition there will be a two-week football and volleyball tournament for high school and university students.