(ANS - Aleppo) - After Damascus, Aleppo. The Rector Major's journey continues through the main cities of Syria, in places marked by the suffering of war, but also by the hope of those who, like the Salesians and the youths of the Salesian houses, have decided to continue to believe in a future of peace and prosperity.
After arriving in the city on the afternoon of Saturday 7 April, the X Successor of Don Bosco visited the city the next day when he recorded a video-message.
“Today is Sunday, April 8, 2018. Here in Aleppo we find ourselves in the same place where our confreres sent us their Christmas greeting. I am very happy to be here with all these young people, the Salesian Family, our sisters of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, our brothers, all as one family and Salesian Youth Movement, here to say a word to all our Salesian world, to the Salesian Family in the world, to our confreres and sisters and to all the young people who can listen to us.
I am happy to tell you that we have come to pray for peace, to pray for a meeting between peoples, cultures and religions and also to ask the Lord that with our human freedom this war and destruction is never repeated.
I must tell you that we are struck by so much destruction, so much pain, so many deaths, for 102,000 people who have been injuried by bombs and more than 3-4-5 million Syrians who have left Syria. This is really painful.
But I want to tell you something else that you can see and feel: there is so much hope!
First, because in faith, even more so during this Easter season, one truly feels that life continues, and that life, fraternity, help is possible, that the Lord supports everyone, all believers of any creed towards the one and only God. We see that life returns, that there is a real desire to rebuild fraternity, to living side by side, to continue serving one's own people, those who follow, those who were born in these years.
Dear Salesian Family, dear young people, let me ask, above all, for understanding, a look of tenderness for these confreres, sisters, friends, for a prayer with faith to the Lord, so that they do not lack for strength. And I continue to appeal again to fraternity and solidarity, to help those who have lost everything, with a large embrace and a strong feeling of friendship towards our Salesian reality, which is very beautiful, Christian and also simply of Aleppo citizens and of Syria.
To all of you a big hug and a greeting from everyone.
Bye Bye and Shukran Shukran”
In the afternoon, after having met several Syrian prelates for lunch, the Rector Major celebrated the Eucharist, wherein 13 Salesian Cooperators took their vows; a meeting followed with high school and university students and then with a number of Salesian Cooperators, including some from Damascus and Kafroun, who gave their testimony of the ongoing war to the Rector Major.
“Father Angel has truly moved us in these last few moments! He has truly been a father and brother for everyone. He listened to us, told us he shall continue to pray for us and that he will speak about the Salesians and young people in Syria to the entire world,” concluded the Social Communication Delegate of the Middle Province East (MOR), Sally A-Jamra.
- Rettor Maggiore
- Ángel Fernández Artime