Reinhard Backes, ACN International
Adapted by Robert Lalonde, ACN Canada
In a dramatic appeal, Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus has appealed to Christians around the world to show solidarity with the Christian faithful in Syria. We publish the text of Archbishop Nassar’s appeal in full below, which he addressed to all who were present at the celebration of Holy Mass during a visit to the headquarters of the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in Königstein, Germany.
“Dear Sisters and Brothers!
My country is in a very difficult situation. There has been war here for three years, and it is destroying the whole country. Two million houses and homes have been destroyed – which means that 2 million families are without a roof over their heads. The people feel lost and without support.
People are afraid! They want to get away! And yet all the embassies are closed. So they are dying where they are, in solitude and silence. And since all the cemeteries are already full, our only project for 2014 is to build a bigger cemetery.
But Christian hope lives on! With the help of ACN we are now preparing for the future, for the rebuilding after the war and for an ecumenical collaboration among the Christian Churches and all the faithful in the orient.
Secondly, we want to work together with Islam. For 14 centuries we have lived in its shadow. If we want to continue to live in the future, then it can only be together. That is a great challenge, but we can succeed in it.
Thirdly, we want to give young people more weight in the Church and place more emphasis on the social teaching of the Church, because this also touches on our work with non-Christians.
In order to prepare for the future we have sent one seminarian to Lebanon. By 2020 he should have completed his training and then be able to help rebuild the Church once more.
I entrust Syria to your prayers! May God bless you! “