Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A Cry for Help

We see Syria on TV: now here is a plea from the Church in Syria for our help. It's a pretty rough translation I've made from (L'aide a L'eglise en detresse) where you can read the original in French. I guess it is the French branch of Aid to the Church in Need - but if the English section has made a similar appeal I have not found it yet.

Dear friends. Today is the 'World day for Refugees' announced by the Holy Father at the Angelus last Sunday. He deplores as we do the situation of "so many people, families especially, who have to flee their homelands, menaced by armed conflict and severe forms of violence".

It is precisely to help these refugee families that I write to you today with such urgency. We have just received a pressing appeal from the Church in Syria, aiming to help several hundred families from Homs which thay have had to leave.

Syria is plunged into violence and chaos. And in this conflict which paralyses the country, it is the weakest who suffer the most. Econonic embargo, inflation, utter devaluation of money, rapidly spreading unemployment, destruction, the displacement of civilians and victims by the thousand... Their suffering is intensified by the misery and hatred which grips them ever more in the absence of humanitarian aid.

Syrians are in a state if shock. They are fearful. The Church in Syria has directed an appeal to us. An appeal to help five hundred Christian refugee families who have fled the warfare in Homs, and taken refuge in Marmarita, not far from the border with Lebanon. The bishop has done his best to provide basic food, temporary shelter and medical help for them, but the needs are immense.

So, while Muslim refugees are helped by the Arab States such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the church represents the only hope for Christian refugees. In all, around a thousand families are waiting on external help. AED is seeking to raise 80,000 Euros. That amount could sustain the basic requirements for five hundred families for six months.

In these exceptional circumstances I ask you

1. To pray the Lord that this ravaged country might find a peaceful outcome which respects the faith of Christians.

2. To make a gift whcih will help the immediate survival of five hunder Christian refugee families, and so to respond to the appeal of the Syrian Church.

3. To offer Masses for the priests remaining in Homs, to help them to survive - as the Syro-Catholic bishop of Homs, Mgr Kassab, has asked of us.

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