The Holy See announced that Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, will travel to Lebanon and Jordan this weekend. Cardinal Sandri will attend the ordination of new Maronite Bishops for Argentina and Australia this Sunday.
The cardinal will also celebrate Mass at the inter-ritual Shrine of Our Lady of Zahle along with the Melkite archbishop and pastors of the local Eastern Churches. The main intention of the celebration will be for peace in Syria, Lebanon and the Middle East.
Cardinal Sandri will also meeting with the patriarchs of the Maronite, Melkite, Syrian and Armenian rites, as well as volunteers of Caritas Lebanon and other humanitarian organizations are coping with the enormous tide of refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict.
According to the Lebanese News Agency, Ya Libnan, there are currently 1.2 million displaced Syrians in Lebanon today and over 60,000 thousand Palestinians from Syria who have fled to Lebanon. The Lebanese government has called for cooperation with public and private institutions to deal with the influx of refugees coming into the country.
The prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches will head to Jordan and meet with various Catholic communities in the area, particularly the Greek-Melkite communities in Petra and Philadelphia. He will also attend the inauguration of the University of Madaba which belongs to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. King Abdullah II of Jordan is also expected to attend the University inauguration.
A communique sent by the Holy See stated that prior to returning to Rome, Cardinal Sandri will visit a refugee camp in Jordan where Syrians and refugees from other Middle Eastern countries are currently living.
“To all, pastors and faithful, the government and the peoples of Lebanon and Jordan, the cardinal will bring the affectionate greeting, sharing in the worries and the sorrows of these regions, of Pope Francis, and imparting the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of closeness and hope in the Lord for the countries of the entire Middle Eastern region,” the communique stated.