Rome Newsroom, Feb 23, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).- When Cardinal Fernando Filoni served as the papal nuncio in Iraq in the early 2000s, he remained in Baghdad amid bombings and suicide attacks.

In an interview with EWTN, the cardinal remembered the words that Pope John Paul II said to him as he entrusted him with his diplomatic mission in Iraq in 2001 and looked ahead to Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the country on March 5-8.

Filoni was appointed as the Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq and Jordan in January 2001. At his episcopal ordination on March 19, 2001, Pope John Paul II said he was sending him as “a messenger of peace.”

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