Syrian prelate: fleeing Iraqis have revitalized Church
March 15, 2011
The thousands of Catholics who have fled Iraq for Syria in the years following the 2003 US attack have revitalized the life of the Church, according to the Maronite archbishop of Damascus.
“They fill our churches, invigorate our parishes and reinforce the Christian faith in Syria, offering new encouragement to our parishes,” said Archbishop Samir Nassar. “Iraqi refugees take part assiduously in daily Mass despite the fact they come from far away, on foot or public transport. On asking for confession before receiving Communion, these refugees have accelerated the return to the confessional which now has waiting queues.”
“Their devotion to the saints and veneration of the Virgin has relaunched the production of candles and the niches of the saints both within and outside the churches are illuminated day and night,” he continued. “They take part in prayer vigils, Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages and processions on the streets of Damascus during Holy Week and especially in the month of May.”
“They live their more intimate moments in silence before the Most Blessed Sacrament, face-to-face with the Lord,” he added. “For hours, they mourn the death of their loved ones and wonder about the future. And they try to understand the reason why.”