Nafee Abd Almaseeh and his wife, Trazia Marzina, pose with their family in the small section of a church hall in Amman, Jordan where they now sleep after fleeing Qaraqosh, Iraq.

CNS PHOTO | BARB FRAZE

Nafee Abd Almaseeh and his wife, Trazia Marzina, pose with their family in the small section of a church hall in Amman, Jordan where they now sleep after fleeing Qaraqosh, Iraq.

January 12, 2015
BARB FRAZE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

AMMAN, JORDAN – Nafee Abd Almaseeh and his wife, Trazia Marzina, spend their days hoping for resettlement. They want help to get to "a place that's safe," Almaseeh said.

In June, he and his family left Qaraqosh, Iraq, with just their clothes and passports. Before the Islamic State group bombed their home, the militants cut water and electricity for 15 days.

The family fled to Irbil, Iraq, where they lived in tents in streets outside churches. The Catholic Church helped get them visas and transport them by airplane to Jordan.

Now the family lives in the activity hall of the Armenian Catholic Church of Our Lady's Assumption. Other families live there, too; boards and curtains about a metre high divide their small living spaces.

Every day, family members go to Mass at the church, but they cannot take the grandchildren outside the church compound, because they have no money.

"It's like a jail, but it's open," said one family member.

Almaseeh's English is limited, and his hands trembled as he showed reporters a small scroll with photos of three popes and the Vatican; he carried it and his rosary with him.

Christians "built this civilization," and now they are being forced out, he said of his home country.

Trazia Marzina, like other Iraqi refugees, said she was most concerned for the future of her children.

Armenian Catholic Father Boghos Nahabedian, pastor, is a priest from Damascus who has spent the last 12 years in Jordan.

Nahabedian said within his parish boundaries there are also Syrian refugees. His parishioners help the refugees by going to Mass with them, giving them spiritual support. But in this neighbourhood, he said of his parishioners, "they need help themselves."

Initially, coming to the parish hall was hard on the Iraqis, emotionally and physically.

"They are much better now," he said. "The main issue is how they will leave the country."