From August 6-9 the General Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference, H.E. Archbishop Nunzio Galantino — invited by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, H.B. Fouwad Toual, and the Patriarchal Vicar of Jordan, H.E. Maroun Lahham –, is on a trip to Jordan, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the arrival of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, on August 8, 2014. He will take part in various initiatives and meetings; in particular, he will visit some reception centers for refugees. On this occasion, Pope Francis wished to send a message of closeness to the refugees, of gratitude to those who take care of their problems, and of appeal to the International Community not to remain inert in face of such a dramatic situation.
Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s Letter to H.E. Bishop Maroun Lahham, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem of the Latins and Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan.
* * *
His Excellency Bishop Lahham
I take advantage of the visit to Jordan of H.E. Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, Secretary General of the Italian Episcopal Conference, to reach with a word of hope all those that, oppressed by violence, have been constrained to abandon their homes and their land.
Many times I have wished to give voice to the atrocious, inhuman and inexplainable persecutions of those in so many parts of the world — and above all among Christians — who are victims of fanaticism and intolerance, often under the eyes and the silence of all. They are today’s martyrs, humiliated and discriminated because of their fidelity to the Gospel. My remembrance, which is a solidaristic appeal, intends to be the sign of a Church that does not forget and does not abandon her exiled children due to their faith: let them know that a daily prayer is raised for them, together with gratitude for the witness they offer us.
My thought goes also to the Communities that have taken charge of these brothers, avoiding turning their gaze elsewhere. You proclaim Christ’s Resurrection with the sharing of sorrow and the solidaristic help you give to the hundreds of thousands of refugees; with your bending over their sufferings, which risk suffocating hope; with your service of fraternity, which also illuminates moments of much darkness of existence.
May the Lord reward you, as only He can, with an abundance of his gifts.
In turn, may world public opinion be ever more attentive, sensitive and participant in face of the persecutions carried out in dealings with Christians and, more in general, of religious minorities. I renew my hope that the International Community will not remain silent and inert in face of such unacceptable crimes, which constitute a worrying disregard of the most essential human rights and impedes the richness of coexistence among peoples, cultures and faiths.
I ask you, please, to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and may Our Lady protect you.