Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 01 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Alphonsus Liguori
home iconChurch
line break icon

The Way of the Cross is what I experience every day as a Syrian

Światowe Dni Młodzieży, Kraków, 27 lipca 2016. Modlitwa o pokój zorganizowana przez Wspólnotę Sant'Egidio.

Anna Sosnowska - Poland - published on 07/29/16

A chat with Maher, a Syrian refugee who carries the cross with another refugee, during the Way of the Cross devotion at #WYD2016

Maher is a Syrian refugee who had to flee his country 6 years ago. When his store was set on fire and burned down, the arsonists left a note: “You will be next”. The alternative was clear – to take up the arms and retaliate, or to escape. Maher would not kill; he could not imagine that one person may deprive another person of their dreams, aspirations and future. At present, with the aid of the Saint’Egidio community, he is living in ltaly.

Anna Sosnowska: Together with the Saint’Egidio community you will be in charge of the first station of the Way of the Cross.

Maher from Syria: I am most thankful to Saint’Egidio for making it possible for me to come to Poland. I would never dream of visiting your country. Nor would I dream of being able to meet Pope Francis.

I do believe that prayer is the best way to secure peace. Therefore, I sincerely hope that the prayer of all the people gathered here for the World Youth Day will contribute to peace in Syria.

What does the Way of the Cross mean for you? Many find it a difficult kind of prayer.

The Way of the Cross is precisely what I experience first-hand being a Syrian: a lot of blood, suffering and death. We, Syrians do not wish anyone to experience what we need to deal with. When I look at what happened in France recently, I am thinking now about the assassination of a priest, we deal with this in Syria on a daily basis. That is why I have brought my country’s flag specifically for this event.

Do you sometimes ask yourself why you and your country suffer so much?

I do not, since such things simply happen in life. It is true that this is a horror which has been going on for years now and there is no end to it in sight. Everyone is against us. There is no one to speak for us. May God be with us and protect us.

Have you ever blamed God for the evil you have experienced?

God is not to blame for what is going on in Syria; people are to blame for it. Jesus Christ is not a God of murder. He is a God of love and peace.

I talked with Maher minutes before a prayer for peace held as part of the World Youth Day agenda by the Saint’Egidio community. During the service one person read out: “Let us pray for peace in …”. The litany was very long; with each new country added, young people would light another candle at the altar. There was more and more light in the church. Let us only hope that there will be more and more light outside this church, too.

PolandSyriaWorld Youth Day
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.