Hope and Prayer as I Depart from Iraq

On my last night in Iraq and amidst the terrorist attacks in Baghdad, Beirut, and Paris, I joined other Christians in praying to Mary for peace.

My time in the birthplace of civilization has given me a strong belief of how faith lived in the existential peripheries of the world can transform society.

Despite their best attempts, ISIS will never define nor destroy Iraq. Iraq’s future—and our global future—is in the hands of heroic women and men who every day seek justice for the poor and excluded, who make a home for the refugees, and who fight against the ideologies of hate that neither serve God nor are authentic expressions of faith with tangible acts of love.

I’ve spent time on the margins of the faith, and now I go to the Eternal City that is the heart of the faith.

I’m going to Rome to be close with Pope Francis and to meet with young Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and other interfaith leaders as we begin a new project to promote a healthy global pluralism. The argument is simple: when the best of our faith traditions meet the best of culture, we can help create a just and equitable future for everyone–for people of all faiths and for people of no faith.