A Lebanese priest kisses the hand of Pope Francis holding Lebanon's flag after they prayed for Lebanon during a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on September 2, 2020 during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Phot: Vincenzo Pinto / AFP)
A senior Vatican official has assured the solidarity of Pope Francis and the entire Church to the Church in Lebanon during a Mass in Beirut.Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, was celebrating in Beirut on Sept. 3, a month after a double blast struck the West Asian nation."It is with great joy that I find myself among you today, in the blessed land of Lebanon, to express to you the closeness and solidarity of the Holy Father and, through him, of the whole Church," Cardinal Parolin said.
An acute economic, social, and political crisis continues to rock the country. The coronavirus pandemic situation has worsened. A month ago, the tragic explosion of Beirut's port ripped open the capital of Lebanon and caused terrible misery, Cardinal Parolin said in his homily.The blasts had killed nearly 200 people, injured thousands, and left thousands homeless."But the Lebanese are not alone. We accompany them all spiritually, morally and materially," the cardinal added.Cardinal Parolin's visit coincided with the papal call to observe "a universal day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon" on Sept. 4.Lebanon was already plagued by a collapsing economy when it was traumatized by the blasts, blamed on 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a port warehouse for years.
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