Qaraqosh (Agenzia Fides) – On July 20-25, in many villages and towns of the Nineveh Plain once inhabited mostly by Christians, 15 statues of the Virgin of Lourdres will be put in place of those removed and destroyed by the fury of the Jihadists during the three years in which the area underwent the rule of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh). In Qaraqosh, Telkaif, Alqosh, Karamles and other places of the Nineveh Plain, the relocation of the statues was lived by the Christians present as a comforting sign of the possible, gradual return to normality, also marked by prayers recited and whispered in front of the statues of the Virgin Mary.
The initiative was made possible thanks to the intervention of the French Catholic Association L'Oeuvre d'Orient, after Father Pascal Gollnish, general director of the association, during a trip to the region had seen the large number of destroyed crosses and statues of Mary and Jesus in those countries during the three years of jihadist rule. Already last March - reports the official media of L'Oeuvre d'Orient - fifteen reproductions of the statue of the Lady of Lourdes, blessed by Bishop Nicolas Brouwet, were loaded on a lorry and from Lourdes went straight to the Nineveh Plain. The relocation ceremonies of the statues, at the parishes, sanctuaries, and areas of the city include the participation of Bishops, priests, religious men and women and lay people, many of whom have just returned to their home town after spending three years as displaced and refugees. Now Christians of those cities and villages can pray again in front of Our Lady of Lourdes, who gave them strength during their exile". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 24/07/2017)