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“Good Samaritan”, in Irak unites Christians and Muslims against pover

“Every day we see that there are many impoverished Muslims, many more than us Christians. And we knew that we had to show Jesus’ mercy to them too,” says Fr. Aram Pano, co-founder of The Good Samaritan.
This is the parable of the Good Samaritan being played out again and again in Basra, a city in southern Iraq.

FR. ARAM PANO
Good Samaritan Ecumenical Confraternity
“Christians always show Jesus Christ in their lives, and they’re always patient because they have hope. Muslims say to Christians, ‘You are Christ.’ That’s what they say in my city: ‘You are Christ.’ That means we have to be like salt on the earth, like light in the darkness.”

In 2008, Fr. Aram, a Chaldean, and two others, representing the Orthodox and Latin Churches, founded the Good Samaritan, an ecumenical confraternity dedicated to meeting the needs of the city’s most vulnerable populations.

FR. ARAM PANO
Good Samaritan Ecumenical Confraternity
“The fraternity has been working to bring the Churches together and to make Jesus manifest through charity, not only with words.”

That includes visiting the sick and the elderly…

…distributing food in the community…

…and visiting cancer patients at a children’s hospital.

FR. ARAM PANO
Good Samaritan Ecumenical Confraternity
“Every day we see that there are many impoverished Muslims, many more than us Christians. And we knew that we had to show Jesus’ mercy to them too. FLASH The volunteers are Muslims and Christians. I think that’s a grace from God. There are also many people who want to help when they hear about the work the fraternity does.”

These men and women in Basra are an embodiment of the mercy shown by the Good Samaritan from the Gospel, who didn’t think twice about helping an injured stranger in his path.

And although Basra wasn’t part of the pope’s trip to Iraq, Fr. Aram is confident that his visit will prove to be a source of strength, hope and courage for Iraqi Christians.