O Blessed Frederic Ozanam, look after the Christians in the Middle East.
Beirut August 7, 2012
Report on the Situation of Christians in Syria
With the war in Syria, especially with the cruelty that we saw in Homs and Hama, Christians continue to worry for their future.
The number of Christian families who left Homs, Hama and surrounding villages is about 4,500 families who settled in the region of Damascus and Hassakeh.
I had several contacts and meetings with the Pontifical Mission for these families to provide money, food and essential commodities, namely milk and diapers for infants, milk, jam and biscuits for children, food for adults, all for a period of two weeks each time. We have faced many difficulties to send them to these families. One solution was that, for example, the president of Damascus come himself in Lebanon recover either money or food.
We currently cooperate with the Syrian Church: the Latin Church, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the Jesuit Fathers, the Greek Catholic Patriarchate, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
We communicated almost daily with our colleagues in Hassakeh, Aleppo and Damascus, until Monday, August 6 when we lost contact. Damascus is now under the bombs and victim of snipers , not to mention the kidnappings of Christians against ransom; a fellow Vincentian, Michel Abras, was killed and a Vincentian priest and several others in Homs and Hama. Now Aleppo is also a victim, more than three churches were destroyed.
More than 20,000 Syrians took refuge in Lebanon.
We are cooperating with Caritas, the Lebanese Red Cross and the Pontifical Mission to help displaced families. The Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs has put official school buildings at the disposal of these families to leave in, as a temporary solution.
We have tried wherever possible to provide them with mattresses, blankets, cooking utensils, milk, diapers, food, medicines, etc. …
I can not describe to you the fear and anxiety which are read in the eyes of those displaced. For the most part they have not been able to bring money with them, either due to closures of banks, or because were not allowed to do so..
They talk about water and electricity shortages, the churches are empty on Sundays because of the fear of being kidnapped or because of snipers.
War seems long, I try to keep in touch with Syria either with our colleagues, or with the clergy, but it becomes increasingly difficult.
Here in Lebanon, we are afraid that this war passes the borders and arrives here.
We pray to the Blessed Frederic Ozanam and St. Vincent de Paul to take us under their protection, so that we can continue our mission with the victims of this war.
Union of Prayers