Christians in Iraq have lost everything. Their homes, their businesses, personal effects including their beloved Rosaries and Bibles.
These Catholic Christians need our help. They have an ancient and peaceful presence - they have never fought wars against their neighbors, they have been systematically rooted out of their homes and forced to flee. Those who stayed behind have been killed in one of the world's most shocking acts of genocide in decades.
For those who have fled, the stories are all identical. Upon arriving at the outskirts of Mosul and other communities, they were forced to pass through a checkpoint. All Christians were searched thoroughly before being sent into 120 degree heat of the Iraqi desert, deprived of everything.
Pockets were emptied of everything, jewelry was confiscated, even wedding rings. Rosaries were stolen for their value in gold and silver. When one woman in Mosul was unable to remove her gold wedding ring, they cut off her finger to get at it.
Bibles, some old family heirlooms treasured by those who carried them, were taken at gunpoint, tossed into piles and later burned to cries of "Allah ackbar!"
Even little children carrying their favorite toy, the only thing to pacify those who had no idea what was happening or why, had their last toy stripped from their hands and smashed or ripped as they cried in horror.
No person was spared. The elderly were stripped of medication and water was confiscated, greedily consumed by checkpoint guards, or poured into the dry earth.
"Don't even dream of coming back," people were warned.
Some of the unfortunate people, especially the children and the elderly, died in the trek to neighboring cities such as Irbil where safe havens were established.
All who survived arrived with absolutely nothing, and were herded into refugee camps where they could at least be fed.
Now that these people are being sustained, it is time to look after their spiritual needs. These are people of resounding faith. Instead of renouncing their religion and keeping their homes and businesses, they left all that to remain faithful to God and our Church. Articles of the faith, such as Bibles and rosaries mean the world to them and losing these items has proved devastating for many.
Help your brothers and sisters replace these precious items. They may only cost a few dollars to you and me, but they mean more than the world to those that receive these precious gifts. Give now.
Your Catholic Voice Foundation is continuing in its successful mission to save and support Chaldean Catholics displaced by the Islamic State in northern Iraq. These amazing and resilient people belong to the oldest Christian societies on the planet. Their Christian communities easily date to the time of Christ's apostles.