Feast of St Francis: OFM Appeal for Syria

May the Lord grant you peace on this feast day of our Holy Father Francis!
And on this great feast the Friars Minor have launched this urgent appeal calling for the designation of Aleppo, and other places in Syria, as Safe Zones. The appeal is co-signed by the Minister General Fr. Michael A. Perry OFM and by the Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton OFM.
In particular – note Fr. Perry and Fr. Patton – the establishment of a security zone around Aleppo “would allow the whole population, worn down by the terrible effects of the conflict, to receive essential humanitarian aid without discrimination, to find safety and security, and to recover some trust and hope in a speedy solution, which would be motivated by peace alone”. The Religious Superiors also pledge their prayers and support to “our confrères who courageously continue to live in Syria. Through their closeness and practical service to all those weighed down by the harrowing consequences of the conflict, the friars have shown themselves to be true “good Samaritans”.
Currently there are about fifteen Friars Minor in Syria. Among them, in addition to the religious dispersed in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia, there are two friars who continue to carry out their pastoral service in Knayeh, Yacoubieh and Jdeideh, in the villages of the Orontes valley, subject to the domination of jihadist forces, where some hundreds of baptized continue to live, pray and attend Masses celebrated in the three Catholic parishes stripped of the bells, crosses and statues of saints. The two friars who are with them are the only priests and religious Christians left in the lands where jihadist militias dictate laws.
May we secular franciscans also pledge our prayers and support to “our confrères who courageously continue to live in Syria”.
To read the message as a pdf see here.
For more information on the work of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land see here and here.
The full Agenzia Fides report on the launch of the appeal is here.

3 thoughts on “Feast of St Francis: OFM Appeal for Syria

  1. Dear Brother,
    My wife and I wish to contribute to the Aleppo appeal, but I was unable to find where to send the money. Can you please help? Perhaps you are doing a National contribution to Aleppo?
    Please let us know how we can contribute.
    Michael ofs.

    1. Thanks Michael,
      Please do include the work of the Custody of the Holy Land in your prayers, especially now for their work in Syria. To contribute financially, use this link (which gives more detail of the work of the Franciscans of the Custody in Syria) and also, if you scroll down and click on the word ONLINE in red capitals, directs you to this donation page.

      There are no current plans to make a national contribution, but if the idea is popular with members, we could consider a national appeal later this year.

      You will find here a map of the Franciscan presence in Syria, (and Lebanon and Jordan)

      The Franciscan province of Syria was established in 1217, when Saint Francis sent Brother Elias of Assisi. Today in Syria there  are different parishes run by the Franciscan fathers, in different cities and villages.

      The text of the appeal mentions an “Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Members of Catholic Organizations Serving in Iraq, Syria and Neighboring Territories, Rome, 29th September 2016)”. You will find that Address here

      And this is what a Franciscan Father, Ibrahim Alsabagh, who has been working in Aleppo for two years, said earlier this year: “I have no words to describe all the suffering I see on a daily basis.” Franciscan Father Ibrahim Alsabagh, who has been working for almost two years now in Aleppo, northern Syria, is asking Christians throughout the world to pray for the city. “Never, since the beginning of this terrible war were things as bad as they are now.“Rockets and bombs are raining down on churches, mosques, schools and hospitals. The number of “nervous breakdowns are increasing, and we now have so many psychological illnesses as a result of the war. There is so much misery. But at least I thank God that through his grace I am able to be a good Samaritan to all the suffering people. I try to console them with the word of God, but also with deeds of corporal mercy. We have really become fathers, and still more mothers, to the people, trying to bind up their wounds tenderly, like a mother.“ Yet, “though the cross the local Christians are carrying is very heavy, this suffering also creates a communion with God and with one another such as I have never seen before. My faith and my priestly vocation have grown here in Aleppo.”

  2. We will certainly ask National Council in December to consider making a national donation. Meanwhile decisions to donate can be taken at individual and fraternal level.

    It is really important to know what is being done by our Franciscan brothers and that the Franciscan presence continues in these war torn areas. It gives a greater direction to our constant prayers for those suffering.

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