Cardinal Sandri to Suffering in Middle East: 'Your Tears and Hopes Are Ours'

Says All Christians Share the Same Hope, and Its Name Is Christ

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Cardinal Sandri has said that although the Christians in Mosul in Iraq and Aleppo in Syria are the most afflicted, the entire area is in a state of insecurity. 

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, made these remarks on Sunday in his homily while celebrating Mass in the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Lebanon in Los Angeles. 

Addressing some 400 faithful of the Oriental Churches participating in the celebration, he candidly reflected on the tragic events taking place in the Middle East, a statement from his dicastery said.

To those Christians in Palestine “who are in tears” and unable live “in serenity and dignity”, he said their “tears are ours”. But he also added that we share “the same hope, and its name is Christ; and Jesus Christ is faithful. For this, we persevere together in the same journey.”

During the homily, he lamented the immense suffering resulting from the desperate fate of many innocent people. The cardinal affirmed that, while the Christians in Mosul in Iraq and Aleppo in Syria are the most afflicted, the entire area is in a state of insecurity, and attributed its continuation to “widespread indifference.”

In response to reading Pope Francis’ appeal in support of persecuted Christians, the cardinal invited the faithful to pray in silence and noted the Church’s closeness to the Patriarchs, the bishops and the people of the Syro-Catholic and Chaldean Churches.

He underscored that the Church empathizes with their suffering and urged them to persevere in the defense of human rights and religious freedom, “particularly where Christians have been living for two thousand years since the beginning of Christianity”.

They have been of benefit to society, and may continue to offer their contribution to the human community, he said.

This Sunday marked the feast of Sts. Charbel and Elias, commemorated by Lebanese Maronites all over the world on the third Sunday of July. (D.C.L.)

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