Catholics urged to pray for victims of Syria conflict

2013-07-12 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The head of the bishops conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols presided at a Mass in London’s Westminster Cathedral on Friday to pray for all those suffering the effects of the civil war in Syria.
In a statement issued earlier in the week, all of the English and Welsh Church leaders called on Catholics to pray for a peaceful solution to the conflict and to offer whatever practical support they can through aid agencies that are operating in the region.
The bishops first appealed for solidarity with the people of Syria following their plenary meeting last autumn, asking the Catholic community to make December 4th, feast day of St John Damascene, a day of prayer for all those suffering from violence and injustice in the region.
Since then the conflict in Syria has intensified with the death toll now reaching 100.000. For further details, Philippa Hitchen spoke with Dr Harry Hagopian, Middle East advisor to the bishops in England and Wales……


"The crisis has very much worsened over the past six months and at the moment we're at a critical stage, all the more so because of what's happened in Egypt over the past two weeks.....the number of deaths are well over 100.000, there are well over four million internally displaced people in Syria and over one and a half million refugees in neighbouring countries, of which the bulk is being borne by Lebanon and Jordan.....

There has been a total failure politically to deal with the crisis....unfortunately now ordinary Syrians, men, women and children, have to bear the brunt of the failure of the political process, whether at the United Nations, whether at the European Community or with the Middle East-North Africa region....

We get immune to the human dimension and what the bishops are trying to do in asking for prayers is to undergird the human dimension of conflict and remind people that this is not something happening on another planet but it's happening close by where human being, some of whom share our own faith, are going through very difficult circumstances....we should keep them in our hearts and also try to help, whether through donating, through speaking out or simply by being advocates and ambassadors for peace as the Bible teaches us...."