Monday, September 26, 2011


The title of this post is a quote from the pulpit on the feast day of the Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegõn, priest and martyr and  Saint Paul Chõng Hasang, martyr and their companions, martyrs.
Not so fast, Father.  You might want to check the news occasionally about what is going on in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, China, North Korea, Indonesia and other exotic and interesting places around the world.  This century is but 11 years old and there are already several people who have spilled their blood on the ground, protecting their faith and their corner of the vineyard of God Himself.  You might say that several (10+) is not a large number and indeed it is not.  But then again, when Deacon Stephen was stoned, it made the Scripture, and that was only 1.  I am not suggesting that because we now have fewer than when Diocletian was running wild that we should rewrite Scripture.  What I am saying is that giving blood witness for the sake of God is a sacrifice with eternal repercussions and should be respected and venerated as such.  In order to give some meaning to to the deaths of the people who have died for their faith in the last eleven years, I invite you all to this new series dedicated to the 21st century martyrs whose names have made it to the contiousness of the Communion of Saints dwelling here on earth.
Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni“Christ challenged evil with His infinite love.  He keeps us united, and through the Eucharist, He gifts us life which the terrorists are trying to take away.”
We start with Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni and three sub-deacons of the Chaldean Catholic Church.  The sub-deacons were Gassan Isam Bidawed and Basman Yousef Daud, cousin of Father Ganni and sub-deacon Wahid Hanna Isho.
These four men of God were gunned down after boarding their cars after the Sunday Holy Eucharist on June 3, 2007.  It seemed as though it might have been possible for Father Ganni to escape the ambush.  To his credit, he knew that the assassins were looking for him, do in order to lessen the damage and to try to  save the lives of the others, he did not run away.  The thugs threw him to the ground as they unloaded the other cars and demanded, "why did you not close the church like we told you?"  He answered, "How can I close the Church?"  With the answer, the four witnessed to their faith with their blood.  They were placed in their cars which were then blown up by bombs that were placed inside the vehicles.  Sub-Deacon Isho's wife who was spared by the killers witnessed the whole thing.
I invite you to read the more complete reporting of this incident here.

A personal note:
I know relatives of Father Ragheed who live in San Diego.  They had T-shirts made with his likeness on the front.  I know that they were angry in one way and proud in another.  There was no crying over this death.

Next to die was Father Ganni's bishop.  His story is next.
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