Vatican City, 21 July 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, celebrated Mass in the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Lebanon in Los Angeles, United States, on the occasion of the festivity of Sts. Charbel and Elias, commemorated by Lebanese Maronites all over the world on the third Sunday of July. Around four hundred faithful of the Oriental Churches participated in the celebration.
According to a communiqué from the dicastery, the cardinal spoke in his homily of the immense suffering caused by the desperate fate of many innocent people and remarked that, while the Christians in Mosul in Iraq and Aleppo in Syria are the most afflicted, the entire area is in a state of insecurity, unfortunately maintained by widespread indifference. He also made reference to those affected by current events in Palestine, “who are in tears, unable to be men and Christians in serenity and dignity. We tell them that their tears are ours, nonetheless we share the same hope, and its name is Christ; and Jesus Christ is faithful. For this, we persevere together in the same journey”.
After reading the appeal in support of persecuted Christians, launched by Pope Francis during yesterday's Angelus, the Cardinal invited the faithful to pray in silence and emphasised the Church's closeness to the Patriarchs, the bishops and the people of the Syro-Catholic and Chaldean Churches. He emphasised the Church's participation in their suffering and urged them to persevere in the defence of human rights and religious freedom, “particularly where Christians have been living for two thousand years since the beginning of Christianity” to the benefit of society, and where they may continue to offer their contribution to the human community.