Pope Francis Encourages Syriac Catholic Bishops in Meeting Humanitarian Needs

Calls on Them to Support Their Priests Facing New Pastoral Challenges

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

As the dramatic situation in the Middle East drags on, Pope Francis is encouraging Syriac Catholic bishops as they try to meet their struggling communities’ humanitarian needs.

The Holy Father made this plea when speaking to Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan and bishops and faithful of the Syriac Catholic Church this morning in the Vatican who are gathered for their annual synod in Rome.

Synod participants came from Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, the Holy Land, and from diaspora communities in Europe and the Americas.

Turning his focus to the Eastern Catholic communities scattered throughout the world, the Pope criticized the grave situation facing those forced to flee their homes or being persecuted for their faith.

The Pope, who has repeatedly shown his concern for those suffering in their region, urged their Church officials to coordinate their efforts with the other Churches in the Middle East to help the suffering Syriac Catholic community.

“The difficult situation in the Middle East has caused, and continues to cause, the displacement of faithful to Eparchies of the diaspora,” he said. And this «makes you face new pastoral challenges.”

The Holy Father noted that priests are presented with a challenge as faithful scatter and they need to adapt to a different cultural context.  Faced with this, it can be difficult to remain faithful to their origins and to continue their service to the Church’s mission and to the common good, the Holy Father reflected.

“This movement of faithful to countries [which are] considered safer impoverishes the Christian presence in the Middle East,” he said, recalling how the region has been a “land of prophets, of the first preachers of the Gospel, of martyrs and of so many saints.”

“All this obliges you,” he said, “to reflect on the situation of your Eparchies, which are in need of zealous pastors, as well as of courageous faithful, capable of witnessing the Gospel in the confrontation, at times not easy, with persons of different ethnicities and religions.”

So many, Francis lamented, “have fled to take cover from an inhumanity that throws entire populations onto the streets, leaving them without means of subsistence.”

Given this, the Pope encouraged them to coordinate their efforts with the other Churches to respond to the humanitarian needs, whether they be those “who remain in the homeland,” or those “who have sought refuge in other countries.”


On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-synod-of-syro-catholic-church

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation