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 December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Middle East

Hundreds rescued as Kurdish forces punch through Islamic State siege Watch

Image of Kurdish Peshmerga forces have fought through an Islamic State siege which held hundreds of Yazidi minorities trapped on Mount Sinjar.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the ongoing war with the Islamic State, Kurdish Peshmerga forces have reported a victory in northern Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Kurdish military says it has recaptured territory near the Sinjar Mountain, the site of the dramatic airdrops that ... continue reading


Islam is the religion of peace? You'll reconsider when you read the laws of true Islam Watch

Image of A crucifixion in the Islamic State.

By Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch

How refreshing it would be if some of the people, Muslim or non-Muslim, who insist that the Islamic State is not Islamic would show how this penal code is contrary to Islam and Sharia. But they will not do so, because they can't. "Islamic State (ISIS) Publishes Penal ... continue reading


In the wake of the Taliban's brutal attack in Pakistan, Christians come together in show of support and solidarity Watch

Image of 132 school children were killed by Taliban gunmen when they attacked an army school in Peshawar province.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following the abominable and devastating attack on a Pakistani school by Islamic gunmen, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church has condemned the massacre. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Taliban jihadists attacked an ... continue reading


U.S. GROUND FORCES ENGAGE ISIS - No U.S. casualties reported Watch

Image of U.S. troops firing a 60mm mortar.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. ground forces have finally clashed with the Islamic State in Iraq and defeated them handily, aided by F-18 fighter jets. The clash took place Sunday following an attack on an Iraqi airbase where American troops were stationed. Several enemy fighters were killed, ... continue reading


SOLD! In a unprecedented move of barbarity, the Islamic State authorizes rape of underage girls Watch

Image of Women captured by the Islamic State are put onto the slave market where they serve as a source of income for the state and as wives for fighters.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has released a new pamphlet that gives instructions on the taking of sex slaves, selling or giving them, and having sex with prepubescent girls, and has circulated the pamphlet among fighters in occupied Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Islamist State releases video that shows drone's eye-view of Kobane Watch

Image of The footage depicts the Kurdish half of Kobane, in a battle scene that has become a test of the efficacy of the U.S.-led air campaign to defeat ISIS.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Islamist State jihadists are keeping the propaganda war fresh and stylized: They've just released a video, easily available on YouTube which shows a drone's eye view of the beleaguered Syrian town of Kobane. By inference, they've portrayed the ongoing conflict ... continue reading


A world at war: Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram, united how much destruction could they cause? Watch

Image of Taliban fighters have waged a war of insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A study from the BBC and the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) has revealed that in November alone, over 5,000 people died as a result of Islamic violence, or nearly seven every hour. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Islamic State BEHEADS four CHRISTIAN CHILDREN when they refused to renounce Christ and convert to ISLAM Watch

Image of A man breaks down in tears. Millions of men across the Middle East, from Israel and Palestine, to Syria and Iraq, know nothing but sorrow as conflict rages across the region, consuming their children.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State terrorists have beheaded four children who refused to convert to Islam according to the British Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Canon Andrew White, Islamic State terrorists have beheaded a man's four ... continue reading


American hostage Luke Somers killed in rescue attempt in Yemen Watch

Image of Luke Somers, who was born in Britain but had American citizenship, was working as a translator for the National Dialogue Conference when he was kidnapped last September.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

A militant jihadist reportedly "relieving himself" spotted U.S. forces in Yemen - who altered his superiors, whereupon American journalist Luke Somers along with South African hostage Pierre Korkie were killed by al-Qaeda operatives. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Bad move: Netanyah's re-election plan may lead to political suicide Watch

Image of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may have just committed political suicide by calling for March elections.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new survey from the Jerusalem Post has found that a large majority of the Israeli population does not want Benjamin Netanyahu to be re-elected as prime minister. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The poll was conducted on December 3, just a day after Netanyahu ... 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 Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, ... Read More

Psalm, First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Chaeromon
December 22: Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was ... 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