- Mar 6, 2021
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.
It was a century ago on Sept. 1, 1920, that a French general, Henri Gouraud, stood on the porch of a Beirut palace surrounded by local politicians and religious leaders and declared the State of Greater Lebanon — the precursor of the modern state of Lebanon.
For the past decade, art collector Nabil Debs has been working on turning his 19th century ancestral home in a historic neighborhood of Beirut to a hotel and art gallery. He planned to open it to the public in mid-August.
More than 35 clerics representing the Catholic, Orthodox and Islamic faith traditions of Lebanon met in Brooklyn to pray for victims of a deadly explosion in Beirut and for an end to the decades of violence and instability in that country.
When a massive explosion ripped through Beirut this month, Yorgo Younes scurried to flee his building. He saw children crying and adults screaming as they scrambled for safety, one running barefoot over jagged pieces of glass in a state of shock and fear.