Pope Francis' personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community Monday, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.
The pope also made a "pressing appeal to the international community to take initiatives to put an end to the humanitarian drama underway."
Pope Francis expressed his fears over increasing violence in Iraq and prayed for peace, security and reconciliation in the country.
He also announced he would be visiting Albania Sept. 21 to encourage the Catholic minority there and the people "who long suffered as a result of the ideologies of the past."
Pope Francis praised the dedication of the retired patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly, 86, who died Tuesday in a hospital in San Diego, according to the California-based Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle.
In a telegram of condolence to Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Pope Francis recalled "with deep gratitude the late patriarch's dedication to his people and to the promotion of respectful, just and peaceful relations with followers of other religious traditions."
Pope Francis confirmed the head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and named among its new members Australian Cardinal George Pell, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis.
The Vatican announced Saturday that the pope confirmed Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz as prefect of the congregation, the Vatican office that oversees the world's religious orders.
Pope Francis confirmed the top leadership of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and named among its new members Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Byzantine Archbishop William Skurla of Pittsburgh.
The Vatican announced Wednesday that the pope confirmed Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as prefect and Archbishop Cyril Vasil as secretary of the congregation, which assists the Eastern Catholic churches throughout the world and the Latin-rite Catholic dioceses of the Middle East.