Visit of Cardinal Paroline

Visit of Cardinal Paroline to the Lebanese Hospital Geitaoui – September 4, 2020

Word addressed to his Eminence Cardinal Paroline,
On behalf of the Major Superiors in Lebanon
Beirut – Karantina, Friday September 4, 2020

Eminence,
When Jesus was on the Mount of Olives in Gethsemane, and he suffered his agony with moaning, sweat and blood, the Gospel of Luke specifies that an angel sent from heaven had come to comfort him, not to spare him suffering of the cross but to help him carry it to the end.
It is so between the Church of Lebanon and the Lebanese people and the Universal Church. Each time the land of the Cedar reaches the abyss, when we say to ourselves, Lebanon is abandoned by all, and it lives the dereliction of agony, here comes an angel from heaven to comfort us and us maintain in hope.
The gesture of Pope Francis during the audience last Wednesday, his words as well as your presence Eminence among us today as emissary of the Pope, are for us like this angel sent from heaven to comfort us in carrying our cross to the end.
The gestures and words of Pope Francis remind us of those of our beloved Saint John Paul II when our country and our people, bloodless by 15 years of war, had the prophetic gesture of coming to our aid by deciding a synod as new hope for the Lebanon.

Would you like to tell our Pope that the Church of Lebanon is an all-terrain Church. Religious congregations, religious orders are everywhere the people are. Our educational and health institutions are scattered all over Lebanon. They have always been considered as a base which kept the population in their land. They have always been everywhere where the state was lacking, where the state should have been, and here is now that base has come to be shaken and for good reason. The succession and accumulation of crises have come to an end.

At the present time our Church is in great suffering, she is like this suffering people, she is the suffering people. She is reached in her flesh and in her soul.

After the double explosion of the port of Beirut, at the present time our young men and women religious, our seminarians and our young priests side by side with all this crowd of good Samaritans, are everywhere in the process of clearing, cleaning, helping , to serve and to invent survival.

Today, at a time when the future of our country is in question, a game, a pawn in the hands of the Powers of this world, as it always has been and particularly a hundred years ago, we dare ask our beloved Pope for yet another gesture, as he has the art, a strong and significant gesture in order to save Lebanon, this country with a special vocation. Lebanon, this secular country, must not die. It’s a phoenix that refuses to die.

The Lebanese people deserve life. Our children have the right to life, to security, to education, to peace. Our young people have the right to dreams, to envision their future with dignity and freedom. The Lebanese people are dignified, respectable, intelligent, courageous, adventurous, open people. He doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. And if our present sufferings were childbirth we would carry them to the end and willingly. But what if they were in vain at the cost of many of the lives of our young people?

Please convey to His Holiness the Pope our cries and tears as well as our filial thanks.

Sister Marie-Antoinette SAADÉ
Superior General of the Congregation of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family
President of the Office of Major Superiors in Lebanon

Father Neamtallah HACHEM
Superior General of the Lebanese Maronite Order
President of the Office of Major Superiors in Lebanon

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