- Sep 17, 2020
Both Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s most senior aide, and British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, head of the pope’s diplomatic service, have been on the road trying to carry the pope’s message in the absence of his physical presence.
Just weeks before Pope Francis is set to sign a new encyclical on human fraternity, the head of the Maronite Church is pointing to his own country of Lebanon as an example of how Christians and Muslims can peacefully live together.
Sister Marie Justine el Osta had just begun a spiritual retreat in a mountain convent 27 miles north of Beirut. Even in that remote location, the blast that rocked Lebanon’s capital Aug. 4 could be felt, like an earthquake.
Bringing a message of hope to Lebanon, a month after a double blast struck Beirut, Pope Francis’ closest collaborator assured the Lebanese: “You are not alone. The whole world supports you.”
The Beirut-based head of the Jesuit Refugee Service for the Middle East and North Africa, Father Daniel Corrou, says the worldwide Church needs to help Lebanon stay a beacon in the Middle East.
During his first general audience with faithful since the COVID-19 coronavirus brought them to a halt in March, Pope Francis issued a lengthy appeal for Lebanon as it nears the one-month anniversary of a massive explosion that rocked the port of Beirut, leaving many homeless and injured.