The Chaldean patriarch joins the Maronite Church, which will hold a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow. Card al-Rahi urges the faithful to take part in the day of recollection and repentance for a “wounded nation”. India offers her solidarity. The Holy Land will send offerings to the needy. The World Council of Churches extends its compassion to the victims. AsiaNews continues its campaign to “Help devasted Beirut”.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – From Iraq to the Holy Land, the worldwide Church stands in solidarity with Lebanon, with the dead and wounded of the explosions, in a country that tomorrow will observe a day of fasting and prayer in mourning, as noted by the Maronite bishops.
In a press release issued at the end of their monthly meeting, the bishops said that tomorrow, Saturday, will be dedicated to “repentance” and “prayer” for a “wounded nation”. In their statement, the prelates call for prayers “for the comfort of the souls of the martyrs and their families. We work with the sacrifice necessary for the common good to rebuild” a country based on” freedom, brotherhood and the rule of law.”
The Church in Iraq too plans to take part in the day of fasting and prayer. In a statement issued by the Chaldean Patriarchate, Primate Card Louis Raphael Sako urges “all sons and daughters” to “join Card al-Rahi” in a special prayer for the “victims of the Beirut port disaster”.
Expressing “closeness to our diocese” in the Lebanese capital, the Chaldean patriarch invokes the protection “of God for Lebanon, Iraq and the peoples of the region”.
Through Card Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (Mumbai), the Church in India sent her condolences, expressing the “solidarity” of Indian Catholics for the people of Lebanon, represented by the Maronite Patriarch Card Bechara al-Rahi.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Sister Marie Gemma, prioress of the cloistered monastery of Baroda, Gujarat, also in India, said that “all the cloistered nuns will rise for the people of Beirut in their pain and sorrow”. This will transform their suffering into a source of consolation.
People in the Diocese of Jerusalem and across the Holy Land will pray for the Lebanese people, said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
“Our thoughts and prayers today go to the Lebanese brothers and sisters, struck by the terrible disaster,” reads his statement.
“In every parish and every church of our Diocese – including the chapels of religious institutes and those not open to the public, [. . .] we will pray in a particular way for the victims, their families and for the many wounded, invoking the mercy of God on all” this and the following Sunday (9 and 16 August).”
Offerings collected during Eucharistic celebrations “will be sent to the Latin Apostolic Vicar of Beirut, His Excellency Monsignor Cesar Esseyan, and will be given to the Lebanese population.”
In an official statement, the Council of Heads of Catholic Churches announced “prayers for the souls of the victims, for the healing of the wounded and for the stability and prosperity of Lebanon “.
The World Council of Churches (WCC), an ecumenical organisation of 349 member Churches, sends its condolences, offering prayers for “the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy and pray for a swift recovery to the thousands who are injured” as well as for “the rescue teams”.
In a letter to its member Churches, WCC interim general secretary Rev Prof Dr Ioan Sauca expressed deep compassion and solidarity with the victims, calling for God’s love and grace for the people who “need all possible humanitarian aid to survive this tragedy”.
Finally, Bishop Ruperto Santos, vice-chairman of the Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, voiced his sorrow for the Beirut tragedy. “It’s very sad, tragic news,” said the prelate. “Our hearts are with them, one with Lebanon in spirits and prayers.”
According to early reports, eight Filipinos were caught up in the event. Over the coming days, Masses will be celebrated for the dead and injured.
In order to help the people of Beirut and Lebanon, as well as Caritas Lebanon, AsiaNews is launching a campaign to ‘Help devastated Beirut’. Those who want to contribute can make a donation to:
– International Bank Account Number (IBAN): IT78C0306909606100000169898
– Bank Identifier Code (BIC): BCITITMM
– Reason for transfer: AN04 – HELP DEVASTATED BEIRUT