ASIA/SYRIA - Prayer and Fasting in the hell of battle: the experience of a Catholic priest

Qusayr (Agenzia Fides) - In the midst of massacres, rape, shootings, kidnappings, vendettas, a small flame of faith and love is kindled in the city of Qusayr (near Homs), one of the places where the war rages more violently: as Fides learned from local sources, a Catholic priest, who now prefers to remain anonymous, has boldly established himself in the city, in a parish house, with the sole purpose of continuous prayer and fasting, to implore God for peace and reconciliation. Just where "hell is unleashing", his presence, the priest explains, wants to be a "strong indication of non-violence, a testimony of faith and love for the Syrian people." His being a "sign of contradiction", will be an experience that the faithful of all religions may understand, since "the weapons of prayer and fasting are important in Christianity and Islam". It wants to be a way, he remarks, "to remind all men, who are fighting and killing, that the only source of hope is God: the God of life, the God of peace, the God of reconciliation, which makes us brothers and not enemies." Fides sources do not rule out that while his experience is spread in the city, Christians and Muslims could join him, despite the dangers, and that in the city devastated by the conflict a new glimmer of hope for Syria could ignite, with men and women who refuse to choose hatred and non-violence in the name of their faith. Religion and faith – note the sources of Fides - are in fact an important component of life and identity of the Syrian people, and in these difficult hours of brutality, it is necessary to leverage the spiritual component, which gives man his true size, his true dignity. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/5/2012)