“Your support makes the families stay in the country,“ the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo said.
On the 20th anniversary of his episcopal ordination, Archbishop Antoine Chahda, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, invited all the heads of Churches in the city to a Mass for the intention of all the donors of Aid to the Church (ACN).
Attending were Armenian Orthodox Bishop Massis Zouboyan; Armenian Catholic Bishop Boutros Marayati; Greek Orthodox Bishop Mousa Al-Khasi; Latin Bishop George Abu Khazen; Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo; Greek Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart; and Maronite Bishop Mons. Joseph Tobji],
Since the beginning of the war in 2011, ACN has supported 326 projects in Aleppo, 53 this year alone. The Mass is intended as a sign of gratitude for all the help ACN has provided, not only for the Catholic Church, but also for other Christian denominations in the region.
In his homily, Archbishop Chahda said: “During our multiple visits to many countries in the world, we saw first-hand those who are helping to save thousands of people through their simple donations; the people who support us are workers, employees and even people of very low income, but they feel what is happening in countries that are under the weight of war and experience famine.”
“We meet in the name of Aid to the Church in Need, we who received a share of the aid of this institution that stood by our side during the war that our beloved country, Syria, suffered for nearly 10 years. They provided us with a lot of food baskets and medicines and helped in the reconstruction of what was destroyed in our churches and our homes. ACN did not skimp on the winter days, so they sent us aid to secure heating for thousands of families, especially in our city, Aleppo, which suffered a lot for more than five years.”
He continued: “We are meeting today as one family and as the people of one country and one city to remind this organization that the war in Syria has not ended yet. Yes, the indiscriminate war, shells, mortars, and bombings have ended, but a difficult economic war has begun, from which the people of our country suffer.
“Poverty and hunger have increased, and our families have become impoverished and many displaced. Immigration continues to attract many who can go out and flee to a safe country far from the life of torment that has claimed the lives of many.
“We meet here today in this cathedral to express our gratitude and appreciation to this institution Aid to the Church in Need, and to pray together so God may bless their work and bless all those who work in helping and saving people and bless those who were the first to establish such a project that works for the sake of every human being without looking at their color, race, or religion.
“To this day, we still ask and implore that ACN continues to support Aleppo financially, because poverty has dominated the majority of the city’s people, and everyone is in need of help.”
The Mass was held Sunday, December 20, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, at Our Lady of the Assumption, the Syrian Catholic Cathedral. it was broadcast live. To watch, please click here.
With picture of Archbishop Chahda (© ACN)
This article was first published by Aid to the Church in Need and is republished here with kind permission. To learn more about ACN’s mission to help the suffering Church, visit www.churchinneed.org