The Vatican has given its permission for the opening of the sainthood cause of an Iraqi priest and three deacons who were murdered by armed gunmen in Mosul. Source: The Tablet.
The Congregation for Saints' Causes gave the nihil obstat (no objection), permitting a diocesan bishop to open a local inquiry into a candidate's sanctity, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, yesterday.
Fides confirmed that the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle of Detroit would be handling the process because of the difficult conditions facing the Church in Mosul.
Chaldean Fr Ragheed Aziz Ganni, his cousin Deacon Basman Yousef Daud, and Deacons Wahid Hanna Isho and Gassan Isam Bidawed were killed June 3, 2007, in front of the Holy Spirit Church in Mosul. Fr Ganni had just finished celebrating Mass for the feast of Pentecost.
The three deacons had been accompanying Fr Ganni because of increasing threats against him by militants. According to AsiaNews, armed gunman shot the four men and then booby trapped their car with explosives to prevent others from safely recovering the bodies.
On the 10th anniversary of the men’s death, Crux reported the gunmen said to Fr Ganni: “We told you to close the church. Why didn’t you?”
Fr Ragheed Ganni’s last words before he was killed were, “we cannot close the house of God”.
The wife of one of Fr Ganni’s friends managed to escape, and became the only witness to the tragedy. She later said the priest motioned with his head for her to run away after he was pushed to the ground by his attackers.
Fr Ganni was born in Mosul in 1972. He graduated in engineering and studied theology from 1996 to 2003 at Rome's Pontifical Irish College and the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas, where he received a licence in ecumenical theology.