Jesuits promote Novena for Syria

Collage of the life and martyrdom of Fr Frans by Farid Georges
Collage of the life and martyrdom of Fr Frans by Farid Georges

The Jesuits in Britain are collaborating with Aid to the Church in Need to promote a Novena for Syria starting tomorrow Thursday 30th March, and completing on 7th April, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ.

The novena will be prayed publicly at all Masses at Farm Street Church and with a focus at the Shrine for the Middle East in the church.

Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ was assassinated outside the Jesuit Community house in Homs on the morning of 7th April 2014. He had lived in Syria for more than 40 years, and was dedicated to reconciliation between Muslims and Christians. Just before his murder, he was providing pastoral and practical help for about 75 Christians trapped in the Old City of Homs as well as offering accommodation in the Jesuit Community to about 45 Muslims. Fr Frans is remembered as a martyr of reconciliation in the Middle East.

Our novena also intercedes especially for the release of Fr Paolo dall’Oglio SJ, kidnapped in Syria in 2013.

Fr Paolo dall’Oglio SJ re-founded the Deir Mar Musa, a sixth-century monastery 50 miles north of Damascus, which over 30 years he developed into a centre for interfaith dialogue.” As of 29th July 2013, nothing of substance has been heard of him. In 2014 he was awarded (in absentia) the Nobel Missionary Prize by the Missionary Association, Cuore Amico Fraternità. for his "great witness and strong commitment to interreligious dialogue". Pope Francis is among many who continue to call for his immediate release.

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