New York Archbishop tells Iraqi Christians: 'We love you, you are not forgotten.'

Cardinal Timothy DolanReuters

The Archbishop of New York has moved to reassure Iraqi Christians that they are not forgotten.

After years of terrifying persecution by Islamic State, the ancient and once-thriving Christian community of Iraq has been reduced to a fragment of its former self.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is visiting the war-torn country, preached a homily at Mass in Inishke in Dohuk where some of the Christians who fled Mosul are now living, alongside with refugees of other faiths. Displaced priests and others from the Syriac-Catholic rite also joined the Mass.

"We love you, you are not forgotten," said Cardinal Dolan, according to Catholic News Agency.

The Cardinal also visited Dawodiya displacement camp, home to 2200 Yazidis, Christians and a few Muslims, in the same area.

Cardinal Dolan is on a pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan to offer support to victims of Islamic State.

He is there in his role as chair of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Vatican agency which supports Eastern Catholic churches. The agency said in a news release that the visit is meant to "demonstrate solidarity with the families — many of whom are Christian — displaced when ISIS swept through northern Iraq in summer 2014." It is also intended to show solidarity with displaced priests, nuns and laity who are helping so many, in spite of their own difficulties. The Archbishop is expected to meet patriarchs and bishops of the Chaldean and Syriac Catholic churches, the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.