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Holy Land Franciscans appeal on behalf of Syrian people

Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa

Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa

The Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land, Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM has issued an urgent appeal on behalf of the people of Syria.

Fr Pierbattista said: "After the change in Egypt, the situation in which Syria finds itself indicates how the landscape in the Middle East is transforming. Until a year ago it would have been unthinkable to foresee such scenarios. In these months of great tension, when Syria is torn by internal fighting, the conflict is beginning to look like civil war.

"The Franciscans, with a few other members of the Latin Church are committed to supporting the needs of the Local Christian population. They is present in various parts of the country: Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakiah, Oronte.

"The Franciscan convent medical clinics, have become a place of refuge and shelter for everyone, with no difference between ethnic groups of Alawites, Sunnis, Christians, or rebels and government.

"In this time of utter confusion and bewilderment, many companies, especially in import-export, have closed their doors. Of the thousands of tourists, who fed a modern and thriving industry, with hundreds of jobs in transport, hospitality, services, no trace remains. Farmers are in serious trouble. The international embargo prevents any possibility of exports and prices have plummeted. The weakest sectors are affected so inescapable and suffer from lack of energy and water. In large cities there has been no electricity for several hours every day, if not entirely; diesel fuel is rationed. This creates enormous hardship to the population, forced to face the winter without the possibility of warming up.

"Spending time with people, to accept and care for those in need,
regardless of race,
religion and nationality; to ensure, with confident presence, the religious service to the faithful so that they understand the importance of staying in their own country. This is the meaning of the Franciscan mission."

The appeal ends with an appeal for donations to support the work of the Custos in Syria.

Tags: Holy Land


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