Pope Francis participates in a memorial prayer for the victims of the war at Hosh al-Bieaa (church square) in Mosul, Iraq, March 7, 2021. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

As so many others, I prayed fervently for the safety of Pope Francis during his recent visit to Iraq, as well as for the health and safety of all who participated. Now that he is safely back in Rome, I pray in gratitude for his incredible witness of faith.

I know we have many demands upon our time, but I suspect we also waste much of it! Please accept an invitation to spend some time in these next few days reading the various homilies and messages Pope Francis delivered during his three day visit to Iraq.

His homilies, Saturday and Sunday are particularly poignant, and a good starting place. Equally important is the highly symbolic message delivered by his sheer presence in Iraq. That, too, is worth prayerful consideration.

All of his talks can easily be found on the website of the Holy See.

In short, his message is the message of the Gospel, which stresses the importance of faith, forgiveness, friendship, and fraternity.