Since June of 2014, when ISIS took control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and the surrounding villages in the Nineveh Plains, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to leave their homes. Additionally, ISIS has attacked Christian churches and monasteries, replacing crosses with their flags and destroying structures that have existed for more than 1,600 years.

Mar Toma Council 10981 responded to a call from their bishop to pray for and aid their brothers and sisters in Iraq. The council organized an evening of fundraising and prayer, asking all area Christians to join them in support of those facing religious persecution in Iraq. In response, more than 1,000 people joined the council in the hall of St. Peter’s Chaldean Catholic Cathedral.

The night was both a spiritual and financial success, raising $650,000. The funds were divided, with $300,000 sent directly to Christian refugees in Iraq, $200,000 to refugees in Turkey and $150,000 to the Adopt a Refugee Family Program in Lebanon.