By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has made an extraordinary gesture for Lebanon….

This was announced in a note from the Holy See Press Office this morning, May 14, 2020, expressing: “His Holiness Pope Francis with fatherly concern has continued to follow in recent months the situation of beloved Lebanon.”

The Middle Eastern nation–the message also remembered–was referred to by Saint John Paul II as the “Message Country,” and was where Benedict XVI promulgated the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente.

Lebanon, it stated, “has always been an example of the coexistence and fraternity that the Document on Human Fraternity wished to offer to the whole world.”

“The Land of the Cedars, in this centenary year of ‘Greater Lebanon,’” it added, “is experiencing a severe crisis that is causing suffering and poverty, and that risks ‘robbing of hope’ especially younger generations who see their present as arduous and their future as uncertain.”

In this context, the Holy Father recognized, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure that the sons and daughters of the Lebanese people have access to education which, especially in smaller areas, has always been guaranteed by ecclesiastical institutions.

“As a tangible sign of his closeness, the Holy Father, through the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Eastern Churches,” the statement announced, “has decided to send to the Apostolic Nunciature the sum of USD 200,000 to support 400 scholarships, in the hope of achieving a gesture of solidarity and with the desire that all involved at national and international levels will responsibly pursue the search for the common good, overcoming every division and partisan interest.”

This intervention, the note clarified, is in addition to the contribution that the Emergency Fund of the CEC (Congregation for the Eastern Churches) has made in recent days to deal with the emergency linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statement concluded, praying: “May the Mother of God, who watches over Lebanon from Harissa Mountain, protect the Lebanese people, together with the saints of the beloved Land of the Cedars.”

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