Syria: Help us help the population, Franciscans

Convents are open, assisting all Syrians

17 February, 15:03

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, FEBRUARY 17 - The Franciscans have urged the international community to support the monks in Syria in their efforts to support the local population ''in this difficult moment in history." The appeal for help was signed by father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custodian of the Holy Land, on behalf of the NGO ''Pro Terra Sancta''. Franciscans are present in several regions in Syria: Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakiah and several villages in the Oronte Valley.

    Father Pizzaballa writes: '' In these months of great tension, when Syria is torn by internal fighting and the conflict seems to have the characteristics of a civil war, the Franciscans, with a few other members of the Latin Church are committed to supporting the needs of the Local Christian population. The medical clinics of the Franciscan convents, according to the tradition of the Custody, become a place of refuge and shelter for everyone, with no difference between ethnic groups of Alawites, Sunnis, Christians, or rebels and government." In a moment, the Custodian underlines, ''of utter confusion and bewilderment, many companies, especially in import-export, have closed their doors." Tourists have disappeared; farmers are in serious trouble; the international embargo prevents any possibility of exports; the poorest people are paying the highest price; there is not always enough water and energy.

    ''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," father Pizzaballa points out.

    He concludes by asking to ''to support with a concrete gesture many Syrian Christians and the charitable works of the Custody of the Holy Land. The aid will be delivered, in time, to the monks living in Syria, who will make sure it is used prudently and carefully." (ANSAmed).

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