"We thank you for their witness, and we pray that we can sustain them in all the ways we can, so they and their families do not feel they are alone."
Bishop Gregory Mansour, eparch of St. Maron of Brooklyn, has released a beautiful prayer for persecuted Christians, in particular praying for two kidnapped bishops of Syria, who have been missing since 2013.
Bishop Mansour is a Michigan native and a Maronite prelate, who has served as the eparch (bishop) of the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, which covers the Maronite Church in the eastern United States, since 2004.
He made news early in New York’s fight against Covid when he contracted the virus, likely from helping a man on the street who was coughing. “I [had] no regrets whatsoever even while I was suffering,” he told Current News, part of NET TV, the cable network of the Dioceses of Brooklyn, in April of 2020. He said that he would make the choice to help again, since the person was “really in bad shape and everyone was just standing around.”
Here is his prayer:
O Lord our God abide with us in our time of need. Your beloved children are persecuted in many parts of the world, they are kidnapped, held captive, tortured and even martyred for their faith.
We thank you for their witness, and we pray that we can sustain them in all the ways we can, so they and their families do not feel they are alone. Lord we also pray for those who do them such harm. Soften their hearts, forgive their sin, lead them to repentance and love, help them to realize those they harm are really their own brother or sister.
Heavenly Father we pray in a special way for our two beloved brothers, Archbishops Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi.
In 2013 they were kidnapped and are still missing. We cannot and will not forget them. They served you and their neighbors faithfully. We ask you, Lord of all, to be with them, and comfort and strengthen their flock and their families.
If they have suffered the ultimate self-gift of martyrdom, grant them eternal rest in your Kingdom. If they are still in the hands of their captors grant them freedom, safety, health and a swift return to their service as bishops. Let them know dear God, that they are not forgotten or alone.
We turn to You heavenly Father, for the suffering Church throughout the world. Let us serve them better, turn the hearts of persecutors from hatred to love, enable your Church to live and witness to your unending and unconditional love.