CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – The acting bishop of Basra held Catholic Mass here Nov. 7 in honor of the service members and civilians working toward a safer, more secure Iraq.
Bishop Imad Al Banna, a Chaldean priest, spoke Aramaic, an ancient language spoken in Palestine 2,000 years ago and still spoken in parts of Iraq to this day.
Al Banna began his sermon with a message of peaceful coexistence.
“Peace can be achieved only by respecting other people’s opinions,” said Al Banna. “All nations who respect themselves take care of all of their citizens. National must also learn from each other and work together to achieve peace.”
Addressing the men and women in the congregation serving in the military, Al Banna extended his praise and gratitude.
“I would like to say thank you to every person who is assisting and helping,” said Al Banna. “You have come overseas so we can have a government that can take care of its citizens.”
Al Banna, who is officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as acting bishop of Basra, said he is concerned with all citizens, not only Christians.
The acting bishop of Basra, Imad Al Banna, poses for one last photo before departing Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, Nov. 7. Al Banna was on the base to hold Catholic Mass for those serving at COB Adder. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew E. Jones)
“I try, from my religious position, to help all people of southern Iraq,” he said. “The church is very open and has services to help all people.”
Spc. Eric Jackson, Altoona, Pa., a chaplain assistant in the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, Pennsylvania National Guard, especially appreciated the Bishop’s message.
“I really like what he had to say. He is a very humble man,” said Jackson. “If you don’t have humility, you don’t have God.” [Reference Sgt.
Matthew E. Jonest]