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New leader

By Peter Bugden

BRISBANE man Rany Nona is delighted his brother, exiled from his diocese in Iraq because of Islamic State militants, will be coming to Sydney soon to lead the Chaldean Catholics of Australia and New Zealand.

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona, Bishop of the Chaldean Diocese of St Thomas the Apostle of Australia and New Zealand.

Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona

Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona

The Pope made the appointment recently after accepting the resignation of Archbishop Jibrail Kassab.

Archbishop Nona was one of thousands of Catholics forced by Islamic State to leave Mosul archdiocese last June after the militants took over the city.

Mr Nona said he phoned his younger brother as soon as he could to congratulate him.

He said he was “very excited, very happy” about his brother’s move.

“He wasn’t safe in his place in Mosul,” he said.

“He’s happy (about his appointment) too.”

Mr Nona said his brother loved his Mosul archdiocese, but there was nothing he could do there now.

He said the archbishop was due to arrive in Australia possibly next month and he was looking forward to seeing him then.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Denis Hart welcomed Archbishop Nona’s appointment.

“I am sure Archbishop Nona will work generously for the Chaldean people here who have been affected by the plight of Christians in Iraq,” Archbishop Hart said.

Archbishop Nona, 47, had been Archbishop of Mosul (Chaldean) since January 22, 2010.

He wrote a letter from Iraq to Christians in the West in October 2013, during a time of violence and suffering in Mosul.

Archbishop Nona said, “Saint Paul says that ‘where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’ (Romans 5:20).

“With him, we may also say that wherever there is persecution there too will be the grace of a strong faith – and therein lies our salvation.”

Archbishop Nona’s motto is that “during a time of crisis and persecution, we must remain full of hope”.

Catholic News Service reported recently that, since being forced out of Mosul, Archbishop Nona had been ministering to his displaced flock in surrounding villages, where they had been living in tents, trailers and abandoned buildings that often lacked basic services like plumbing and heat.

In Mosul, Archbishop Nona succeeded Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who died in 2008 after he was taken hostage by kidnappers.

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