Pope calls for day of prayer for Lebanon

Katie Ramirez
September 5, 2020

The pontiff held his first audience in a closed courtyard of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, with a maximum of 500 faithful. During his Angelus prayer August 9, Francis asked that Lebanese people and the entire global community work together "for the common good of this beloved country". He particularly urged "political and religious leaders to commit themselves with sincerity and openness to the work of rebuilding, setting aside all partisan interests and looking to the common good and the future of the nation".

As Pope Francis greeted people gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace for his general audience September 2, Father Georges Briedi, a member of the Congregation of Lebanese Maronite Missionaries, held up a Lebanese flag.

"For more than 100 years", Pope Francis said, "Lebanon has been a country of hope". Faith and prayer are your strength. Do not abandon your home and your legacy.

"Therefore, in order to emerge from this crisis better, we must do it together, together, not alone, together, not alone because it is impossible, either you do it together or you don't do it". Do not abandon the dreams of those who believed in the dawn of a attractive and prosperous country.

Clergy have a key role to play in this context by accompanying the Lebanese faithful through this hard time, Francis said.

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The Pope recalled the explosion in Beirut a month ago and called for his followers to spend a day in prayer and fasting for the lives lost and the suffering of the remaining.

The Vatican press office said the pope handed his prepared text to members of the group and then had an unscripted conversation with them, telling them that his own "ecological conversion" began in 2007 by listening to Brazilian bishops at the Latin American bishops' meeting in Aparecida, Brazil.

"Lebanon a message of freedom and an example of pluralism, both for the East and for the West".

On that day, he said, he intends to send Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Lebanon as an expression of his "spiritual closeness and solidarity" with the Lebanese people.

Before asking for a moment of silence for Lebanon, the pope entrusted the country to the intercession of the Virgin Mary "so that the Land of Cedars may flourish and diffuse the perfume of living together in all of the Middle Eastern region".

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