January 2014

“Have courage brothers, because each beginning has an end”: words of hope from the new Franciscan Bishop of Aleppo

Have courage brothers, because each beginning has an end. You should lose neither hope nor courage, because God is omnipotent. He is Father and Providence. He is Lord of history and holds our destiny in his hands” – thus spoke the new Latin Apostolic Vicar, Monsignor Georges Abou Khazen, who was ordained as Bishop on Saturday 11 March in the Church of St. Louis in Beirut, Lebanon. Mons. Abou Khazen went on to say: “God was responsible for Paul’s conversion in Damascus from oppressor to preacher of the Gospel. His disciples were called Christians for the first time in Antioch, in Syria. He is able to protect his children and keep the flame of faith alight so that it can continue to be a sign of hope, of dialogue and of reconciliation”.

Father Georges has been parish priest in Aleppo for more than 9 years: as a friar he has frequently collaborated with ATS pro Terra Sancta, coordinating, especially in these most recent times, all of the aid that has been arriving through the generosity of so many friends, and spending all of his days and nights in the emergency center in Aleppo.

Despite the honor of becoming Bishop of Aleppo, Father Georges will continue to work in synergy with ATS pro Terra Sancta, in coordination with the field work being carried out by Father Bassam Zaza, his religious brother and our current principal contact in Syria.

What has been done, and what still needs doing.

Since the beginning of the war in Syria the friars have created four shelters, where approximately 200 people are able to sleep, and have been providing basic needs (food, clothing and medicine) to an average of 400 people per day. Each month about 50 families come looking for new housing.

We have raised a substantial amount during these three years of conflict, thanks to the generosity of so many people, but unfortunately there are still so many needs to be met. Your aid can make a real difference for the Syrian population.


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