On Friday, November 9, 2018, Pope Francis met with Mar Gewargis III, the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. Together the two pontiffs implored the Lord that there might be an immediate end of the profound sufferings of our fellow Christians, especially in the homelands of the Assyrian Church of the East. The situation is dire. Christians are leaving the Middle East in great numbers. “A Middle East without Christians would no longer be the Middle East as we have known it for two thousand years.”
Joining in the audience and in the Common Prayer in the Chapel of Redemptoris Mater in the Apostolic Palace were two graduates of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mar Awa Royel, class of 1999 (Assyrian Bishop of California) and Fr. Thomas A. Baima, class of 1980 (Vice Rector for Academic Affairs). Both are appointed members of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, which has been meeting in Vatican City this past week. Additionally, both attended a major academic symposium at the Pontifical Oriental Institute to celebrate the 700th anniversary of ‘Abdisho’ one of the great theologians of the Church of the East.