Vatican sends envoy to Iraq

Pope Francis has sent Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to regions of northern Iraq, where ISIS militiants have sent thousands of Christians and other religious minorities fleeing, the Vatican stated on Friday. This comes one day after the Pope made many statements about sending aid to the region.

In two separate tweets on Friday, the pope urged people to “take a moment” and pray for all those forced from their homes in Iraq and stated that the Iraqi Christians remain vulnerable to these attacks. He also urged the faithful to prayer for these people as well.

The Vatican’s spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that Filoni would leave in a few days for the region of Iraqi Kurdistan, where as many as 100,000 Christians have fled to after being forced from their homes in the northern regions of Iraq by the Islamic State.

“The pope wanted to mobilize, given the serious ongoing emergency,” Lombardi said about his trip.

Filoni is also expected to deliver a message of support from the pope as well as other forms of financial aid to those affected by the ongoing violence.

“It is too early to say when he will leave and what his itinerary will be,” Lombardi said to the media. “The mission is still being prepared.”

Iraqi authorities recently reported that the Islamic State militia kidnapped hundreds of women and girls from the Yazidi group after invading the town of Sinjar. Yazidi is a minor branch of Islam that is not consistent with their interpretations. Representatives from the church are expected to meet in November from arounf the world.

Filoni, who comes from the Italian town of Taranto, was the papal nuncio, or ambassador, to Jordan and Iraq from 2001 to 2006 and has remained in Baghdad during the allied invasion and the years of occupation by the allies.