Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/16/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The significance of this apostolic visit to Lebanon by the Vicar of Christ cannot be overstated

One can only expect that many among those who care for the Pope in his Petrine ministry have expressed their concerns for his safety given the escalation of violence in the region. However, this danger will not deter his determination to visit the region. He is a man of great courage and profound living faith. We ask our readers around the world to pray for him during this historic visit.

Lebanon prepares for the Vicar of Christ

Lebanon prepares for the Vicar of Christ

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/16/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Jihadist, Islamist, Pope benedict XVI, Peace, Pope, Deacon Keith Fournier


BEIRUT, Lebanon (Catholic Online) - On Sunday, September 9, 2012, before the horrific attacks on the US Embassy in Egypt, the US Consulate in Libya, the US Embassy compound in Yemen and now the growing protests throughout the Nations of Iraq and Iran, Pope Benedict XVI spoke these words to the faithful during his Sunday Angelus Prayer:

"Dear pilgrims, those of you here, or who are taking part in the Angelus through radio or television; in the coming days, I will make an apostolic visit to Lebanon to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, fruit of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held in October 2010. I will have the happy opportunity to meet with the Lebanese people and authorities, and the Christians of that beloved country and those from neighboring countries."

"I am aware of the often dramatic situation experienced by the people of this region, too long torn apart by incessant conflicts. I understand the anguish of many Middle Eastern people immersed in daily sufferings of all kinds, which sadly, and at times mortally, plague their personal and family life. My concerned thoughts go out to those who, in search of a place of peace, leave their family and professional life, and experience the precariousness of being exiles."

"Even though the search for solutions to the various problems affecting the region seems difficult, we cannot resign ourselves to the violence and exasperation of tensions. A commitment to dialogue and reconciliation must be a priority for all parties involved, and must be supported by the international community, increasingly aware of the importance of a stable and lasting peace in the region for the whole world. My apostolic visit to Lebanon, and by extension in the Middle East as a whole, is placed under the sign of peace, referring to the words of Christ: "My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). May God bless Lebanon and the Middle East! May God bless you all!"

Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros al-Rai told Vatican Radio's Tracey McClure that the focus of this papal visit was the role of the Churches of the Middle East and how they can and must contribute to a future of peace in the region. "I think the Apostolic Exhortation is a gift of Divine providence in this difficult moment. It will present a series of challenges confronting the Christians of the region and propose some solutions and a way to proceed".

The Patriarch claimed that the Muslim community was "very enthusiastic about the Pope's visit" and expressed his belief that "the Pope will help bring the dawn of peace to the region." And that the "real Arab Spring will arrive as the fruit of a Christian Spring and we can help to achieve this through communion and witness to love".

He added, "This is a region torn by conflict and war and this exhortation will present a new way of presenting positive solutions to the conflict and political tensions. It is important that the Church speaks a language of peace, dialogue and understanding, because the Arab world only hears the language of hatred and violence both regionally and internationally, unfortunately. Violence and war will never bring about a new Spring - Only the opposite".

The Holy Father's plans to travel to Lebanon have been underway for some time. He has often expressed his profound concern for the Christians of the middle East and conviction of the necessity of their continued presence there. He is traveling there to encourage them in their faith and reaffirm their vital role.

One can only expect that many among those who care for the Pope in his Petrine ministry have expressed their concerns for his safety given the escalation of violence in the region. However, this danger will not deter his determination to visit the region. He is a man of great courage and profound living faith. We ask our readers around the world to pray for him during this historic visit.

Shortly after his arrival on Friday, September 14, 2012, he will travel to the Melkite Greek Catholic basilica of St. Paul in Harissa where he will sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the vital Role of the Church in the Middle East. This highly anticipated Apostolic Exhortation follows the Synod of Bishops of the Middle East which was held in October of 2010 in Rome. That gathering was dedicated to the theme "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness." 

On Saturday morning he will meet with government leaders. Prime Minister Najib Mikati  praised the papal visit in the National press, calling it historic and expressing hope that it will lead to a partnership for peace. He called a Cabinet session on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 where he noted that the session was:
 
"being held two days before the historic event which we will witness for Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to announce the apostolic exhortation for the Christians of the Middle East." He expressed his hope that  "all Lebanese, Christians and Muslims are awaiting his holiness's arrival on Friday and all trust that his visit will bring good and peace as well as a return to true partnership between the peoples of the East."

That session with government leaders will be followed by a meeting between the pope and Muslim Leaders. The Shiite cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hasan al-Amin, spoke to the  Lebanese Daily Star and referred to the  "blessed visit". He drew parallels with the visit of Blessed john Paul II in 1997. He said the visit was "a sign that Lebanon has a great place in the Vatican" and expressed hope that its impact  would be felt not only by Christians but by all the Lebanese.

The Holy Father will then lunch with the Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops and the papal entourage in the refectory of the Armenian Catholic Patriachate of Bzommar. Finally, in the evening, as is his custom, he will meet with the youth in an open air session on the square across from the Maronite Patriarchate of Bkerké.

On Sunday morning he will conclude the visit by offering an open air Mass at Beiruts waterfront where he will preach the homily and then make the formal presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East in the Beirut City Center Waterfront. Then, he will lead the Angelus and give an address. That will be followed by an ecumenical meeting in the Hall of Honor of the Syro-Catholic Patriarchate of Charfet and his departure for Rome.

The significance of this apostolic visit to Lebanon by the Vicar of Christ cannot be overstated. Its timing is prophetic and its message is urgent. The Christian faithful throughout the world need to pray for the Successor of Peter as he travels on this mission of peace. We also need to pray for the success of his efforts. Finally, we need to pray in solidarity with our Christian brethren in the Middle East in their time of travail.  
 
At his Wednesday General audience, Pope Benedict XVI spoke these words to the faithful: "I exhort all Christians of the Middle East, both those born there and the newly arrived, to be builders of peace and architects of reconciliation. Let us pray to God that he may fortify the faith of Christians in Lebanon and the Middle East, and fill them with hope.

"The history of the Middle East teaches us the important and sometimes primordial role played by the various Christian communities in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. Let us ask God to give that region of the world its longed-for peace, and respect for legitimate differences."

The Vatican news Agency issued the following report on the visit.  

"The Pope is going to Lebanon as a "messenger of peace" and the dramatically mounting tension that still today affects the entire region of the Middle East, "far from discouraging him have made his desire" to undertake this journey "even more pressing". On the eve of Benedict XVI's departure, offers a key to interpreting the papal visit, describing  it as "an invitation to leaders in the Middle East and to the international community to work with determination to find fair and lasting solutions for the region".

In a September 13 interview with Le Figaro, a French daily, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vaticans Secretary of State, noted that "for the Pope the advancement of human rights -  and first among them the right of religious freedom - is the most effective strategy for building the common good. " He also said that the Pope "intends to be a prophetic and a moral voice", asking "all men and women of good will to ensure that religion is never an incentive for war and division".

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Middle East

'Lend Me Your Ears' Hostage reporter appears in Islamic State sham news report Watch

Image of reporter and hostage, John Cantile appeared in a video made by the Islamic State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has released another video, perhaps attempting to persuade Americans and British forces from attacking them. This time, instead of beheading a journalist they have created what appears to be their own version of a crude news segment. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Half of Iraqi army incapable of fighting against ISIL, top U.S. general declares Watch

Image of According to General Martin Dempsey, the solution must begin with formation of an Iraqi government that is able to convince the country's Kurdish and Sunni populations that they will be equal partners with the Shiites in Iraq's future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, the U.S. military's top officer gave his assessment of Iraq's military capability in deterring the Islamic State. Dempsey says that almost half of Iraq's army is incapable of working against ISIL. ... continue reading


Stone structure in northern Israel was to worship moon god, scholar says Watch

Image of The vast structure, which is 150 meters long with a volume of 14,000 cubic meters, is thought to have taken more than five months to build.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the shape of the crescent moon in northern Israel, a 5,000-year-old stone structure is now being declared as an ancient monument. Predating much of the construction of Stonehenge in England and Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the structure according to one ... continue reading


A plea from Christian churches around the world: Stop the genocide in Iraq and Syria Watch

Image of Fighters from the Islamic State have been systematically waging a war of terror on Christians and other religious minorities in regions under their control in Iraq and Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian leaders throughout the Middle East have called on Muslim governments and religious authorities to condemn the Islamic State for its ongoing persecution of minority religious communities in Iraq and Syria. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The leaders ... continue reading


ISIS on the run! Kurdish forces on the move towards Mosul! Watch

Image of Kurdish forces with a captured Islamic State fighter.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kurdish Peshmerga forces have retaken a bridge and several villages around Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region, and pushed fighters from the Islamic State back towards Mosul, Iraq's second largest city. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Islamic State ... continue reading


Refusing responsibility, Hamas admits to using schools, hospitals as 'human shields' in rocket attacks Watch

Image of The question that remains: Did Hamas deliberately and systematically fire rockets at Israel from homes, hospitals and schools in the hope that Israel would be deterred from retaliating, as Israel claims?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two weeks after the ceasefire, a Hamas official admits that his organization DID use schools and hospitals in Gaza Strip as "human shields" to launch rocket attacks on Israel. Said official, Ghazi Hamad claims it was "mistake." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Stemming tide of ISIS recruits: Nations work to prevent citizens from joining jihadists Watch

Image of While part of Turkey formerly supported the Islamic State, Turkey has since changed its tune after Turks were targeted for violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Countries across the globe are disturbed by the high recruitment rates by the Islamic State, who are gathering fighters from all over the world. Working to turn back this deadly tide, nations are formulating policies that will hopefully turn back the tide of ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO - Jihadi John beheads David Haines (FULL VIDEO) Watch

Image of Haines in the moment before his apparent execution.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has beheaded David Haines, and threatened to kill another Briton if the British government continues to ally with the United States against the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Time is running out for Alan Henning, who is next in ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO - New video surfaces of Islamic State mass execution of 220 Syrian soldiers Watch

Image of At least 220 men were death marched into the desert and slaughtered by cheering Islamic State terrorists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new video of Islamic State atrocities has surfaced. In this graphic video, Islamic State fighters execute 220 Syrian soldiers en masse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A new video which shows the Islamic State executing at least 220 captured Syrian soldiers has ... continue reading


U.S. step up pressure on Islamic State's illicit oil sales Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Treasury Department says that it plans to step up pressure on the extremist group's illicit oil sales. An integral part of U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to "systematically degrade, dismantle and defeat" the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:12-20
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 6-7, 8, 15
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:1-3
1 Now it happened that after this he made his way ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 19th, 2014 Image

St. Januarius
September 19: St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter