Vatican OKs sainthood cause for Iraqi priest, deacons killed in Mosul

VATICAN CITY — 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.

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 Evangelization of Peoples, May 14.

Fides confirmed that the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit would handle the process because of the difficult conditions facing the church in Mosul.

Chaldean Father 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 Holy Spirit Church in Mosul. Father Ganni had just finished celebrating Mass for the feast of Pentecost. 

The three deacons had accompanied Father Ganni because of increasing threats against him by militants. According to AsiaNews, armed gunmen shot the four men and then booby trapped their car with explosives to prevent others from safely recovering the bodies.

Father Ganni was born in Mosul in 1972. He earned a degree in engineering and studied theology from 1996 to 2003 at Rome's Pontifical Irish College and the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas the "Angelicum," where he received a license in ecumenical theology.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018