Updated: August 06, 2020 06:16 PM GMT
Russian medics treat a patient at the Russian field hospital at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 6, 2020.
(Photo: IBRAHIM AMRO / AFP)
As Lebanon's Catholic leaders appealed for help for their country, international and U.S. organizations appealed for donations for Beirut, capital of a country already suffering from a severe economic downturn.
"The church, which has set up a relief network throughout Lebanese territory, now finds itself faced with a new great duty, which it is incapable of assuming on its own," said Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch. He called for a U.N.-controlled fund to be set up to manage aid for the reconstruction of Beirut and other international assistance to aid the stricken country.
In Lebanon, Maronite Catholics are the largest Christian group. In the United States, two Maronite bishops noted that the explosions, which left more than 130 people dead and more than 300,000 homeless, "turned Beirut into an apocalyptic city. Hospitals, schools, houses, businesses, and much more (are) destroyed, leaving people feeling hopeless and helpless."
"We ask for your support for our brothers and sisters at this difficult time and in response to this catastrophe," said the statement, signed by Bishops Gregory Mansour of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn and A. Elias Zaidan of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles.
"We urge you to pray for Lebanon, and we ask for your support for our brothers and sisters at this difficult time and in response to this catastrophe. We appeal to all nations, all people of goodwill, to stand in solidarity with the Lebanese. We hope and pray Lebanon will regain stability and initiate a path of recovery toward peace and justice for all."
In Beirut, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan appealed to all people of good will: "Here is Beirut, crying out for help!" He said all Syriac parishes would use everything at their disposal to help.
"We value all relief, aid and assistance provided to those affected, especially for Beirut residents and its suburbs," he said, also appealing for prayers and referring to the victims as martyrs.
In a statement from the Melkite Catholic Patriarchate in Damascus, Patriarch Joseph Absi also referred to those who died as martyrs.
"The time now is not for the sharing of responsibilities nor for disputes, but for the tireless work to reduce the repercussions of the national catastrophe and to ... reject differences and work together to avoid the worst," he said.
Here are some Catholic agencies where you can donate to help the citizens of Lebanon:
Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Vatican agency: https://cnewa.org/campaigns/lebanoncrisis/
Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organization for Catholic charitable agencies such as Catholic Relief Services, Development and Peace, CAFOD: www.caritas.org/2020/08/explosions-in-beirut/
Aid to the Church in Need, a pontifical foundation: https://www.churchinneed.org/beirut-acn-offers-emergency-food-aid/
Malteser International, relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta: www.malteser-international.org/en/donation.html
Jesuit Refugee Service: https://www.jrsusa.org?form=lebanonresponse
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.