“Lebanon now is suffering.” —Pope Francis on the papal plane on November 6, 2022, as he returned from his November 3-6 trip to Bahrain (link)
“Dear Lebanese friends, I greatly desire to visit you and I continue to pray for you, so that Lebanon will once more be a message of peace and fraternity for the entire Middle East.” — Pope Francis during his General Audience on August 4, 2021 (link)
Letter #118, 2022: Giving Tuesday 2, November 29
The Maronite Catholic community in Lebanon is one of the most ancient Christian communities in the world, dating back to the first century, and still speaking words from the Aramaic language that Jesus used in its splendid liturgy.
The Lebanese Maronites have survived courageously through times of persecution, especially under the Ottoman Turks, yet the modern age has posed new challenges to the community — and many Lebanese Maronites are now leaving Lebanon for other countries.
This “flight from Lebanon” is a complicated process, and I would not like to over-simplify it. But in certain ways it risks becoming a tragedy, not only for Lebanon’s Maronites, but also for everyone who lives in Lebanon, and perhaps for the entire Middle East, and for the entire world.
For Lebanon is a “keystone” or “cornerstone” country, a “message country” that provides a shining living message: that various religious communities can live together in mutual respect.
If this model fails, if it no longer exists, the Middle East, and the world, would be far poorer.
For this reason, in recent years, in addition to publishing our magazine, Inside the Vatican, we have begun a project called Friends of Lebanon.
The project provides help through our writing (The Lebanon Report, link), through short-term financial support for people left in shock and destitution by the Beirut port blast of August 4, 2020, and through support over the longer term for education and health care, to offer a better prospect for the country and so to encourage Lebanese Maronites to stay in their homeland, in Lebanon.
All of this is fully in keeping with the mind of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly spoken about the need for Lebanon to be supported by the international community.
On this Giving Tuesday, we invite you to participate with us by making a tax-deductible gift to our Lebanese work.
Please click here to give even a small gift — any amount truly does help.—RM
P.S. Our first “Special Issue” of Inside the Vatican — devoted entirely to the Blessed Virgin Mary — in now at the press. It is entitled, “Mary: Behold Your Mother.” Any gift of $50 or more will receive a free copy of this special issue.
There is a brief video about our work in Lebanon called “Rays of Hope in Lebanon,” marked “Friends of Lebanon” below.
Our Unitas: Friends of Lebanon delegation met with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï at his summer residence in Dimane on September 18, 2022. The Patriarch encouraged us in our mission
“Urbi is doing a great job getting money directly where it needs to go — to those who need it” – Dr. Edmond Raheb, Connecticut, USA a donor and pilgrim who traveled with Urbi in Lebanon
If you wish to help, please click here.
And just below there is a video which is just a few minutes long and gives you a quick overview of our work.
With best wishes to all in the Advent season, which leads toward Christmas, and with prayers for all who face difficulties and suffering, that God may bless and keep you, and this His light may shine upon you.
— Robert B. Moynihan, Ph.D.