Do you remember playing Hide and Seek as a child?
Hide and Seek was no kids’ game for the little ones trapped in Aleppo, Syria recently – it was a matter of life and death, as they hid in any shelter they could find!
During the last four years over 250,000 people have lost their lives. The bombings have killed women and children in large numbers. The drama of this war-torn country plays out on the evening news in front of our eyes: families try to escape from the war, from the bombs, from terror… But, the poorest among them cannot get away. A new ceasefire agreement for Syria has been broken between Russia and Turkey. Let’s all pray that the agreement holds this time.
Our Franciscan friars who live in the Syrian missions remain close to those who were left behind, to live in the ruins of their cities, in the midst of this war. These eight friars have stayed behind and continue to serve the refugees. Friar Ibrahim reports that, in Aleppo, there is no electricity, water, food or work. Hospitals don’t have medicines and are not spared from attack. Many doctors have run away and the people die without any medical care. Every day there are innocent victims in the schools, on the streets, and inside the houses. These poor people live in terror. They fear they will be captured and their children killed or made slaves.
This is one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time! Only the great faith of the Catholics, living through this tragedy, leaves a door open to hope. For when there is a pause in the fighting, they come out from their hiding places to our missions in Aleppo, Damascus, Latakia and Knayeh. They come, and the friars give them what food and water they have to share. They give them medicine, clothing and other essential supplies that they need to survive. They celebrate Mass together and pray for peace. These people live in fear and sorrow, but they have not abandoned their hope that one day all this will come to an end.
Their hope in the middle of war, destruction and death is a witness of a splendid faith that should teach all of us. It is my hope and prayer that you will support our missionary friars in Syria as they serve these Christian refugees caught in the crossfire of this war.
Will you please send a faith-filled gift today to help these children and families struggling to survive? Food, medicine and water are desperately needed. Water is being used as a weapon and is purposely shut off. The friars at our mission in Aleppo use a gas generator to pump water from their own well for six hours every day. Finding the fuel and supplies to keep the generator running is difficult and comes with great expense.
The friars have to spend $793 a week just to keep the generator running 6 hours every day! That’s $113 a day, $19.00 per hour! This life-saving gift of water is the only source for so many trapped in this war. Any gift you could send will help keep the water flowing and purchase food, medicine and other supplies. Today, more than ever, our missionary friars need your support to help these refugees. They bravely serve in areas where leaders of our Church have been murdered.
Will you stand with them in their time of need? Your prayers and financial support will keep hope alive in the places that were dear to Jesus and witnessed the conversion of St. Paul. Help us shelter these Christian refugees in the wings of our Church. Our Franciscan friars always remember you in our prayers with infinite gratitude.
God bless you. Peace and good to you and your loved ones.
Fr. Teofil Czarniak, OFM – Executive Director
P.S. Please send a generous gift today to help our missionary friars in Syria provide life-saving water, food and medicine to Christian refugees caught in the crossfire of this war.