Catholic Relief Services (CRS) recently received a significant donation from St. Philip the Apostle Church for emergency relief aid work that is taking place in Iraq given the instability of the area in light of terrorists groups who are disrupting families and persecuting Christians.

Organizers at the Pasadena parish only wanted to shine a light on the issues, not raise money. But, according to parishioner Noelle Soi, the powerful personal messages that were shared during Sunday Masses resulted in close to $6,000 in donations.

“We had a fellow parishioner, Ban Angoorly, who grew up as a Catholic in Northern Iraq, describe the situation from her point of view,” said Soi. Msgr. Padric Loftus — a Global Fellow with CRS — also spoke in Sunday morning homilies about the work of CRS, especially in Iraq.

“Our pastor at St. Philip, Father Joe Moniz, was supportive of our message,” Soi added. At the Sunday evening Mass, Father Moniz gave a homily similar to those earlier in the day.

Because she was so well-received at St. Philip, Angoorly has been invited to speak at various locations including neighboring St. Rita Church in Sierra Madre. “Ban invited us all to pray for [terrorist group] ISIS because that is the challenge that Jesus gave us — to pray for our enemies,” said Soi. “It was very emotional and powerful.”