Pastor in Aleppo: In devastated Syria, we help with reconstruction

Ibrahim Alsabagh presented the pope with his new book, a sign of hope for Syria’s reconstruction.

The Franciscans have been in the Holy Land for 800 years. They don’t only maintain the places through which Jesus and His Apostles passed, but also for their inhabitants, whether Christians or not.

Thus, Ibrahim Alsabagh, a pastor in Aleppo, didn’t abandon the city during the four years of war and siege. Now, he’s helping to rebuild it. It doesn’t only involve recovering a place 70-percent destroyed, lacking water and electricity. The challenge is much greater.

IBRAHIM ALSABAGH
Pastor in Aleppo (Syria)
“Looking around us, we understood that rebuilding the country doesn’t only mean rebuilding a house or providing work. We must undertake a deeper reconstruction of the human person, who, with his or her damaged dignity, lives in truly inhumane conditions.”

Father Ibrahim has chronicled his experience and travelled to Rome to present Pope Francis with the book that documents it: a sign of hope entitled “Viene il Mattino,” or “Morning is coming.”

IBRAHIM ALSABAGH
Pastor in Aleppo (Syria)
“In the midst of the chaos, the Church there entrusts itself with the lives of every person. It cannot rest on its laurels or cry over what’s happening. Its responsibility, which is to help, especially increases in the midst of the chaos.”

Despite only seeing destruction around it, it doesn’t lose hope because it’s also witnessing positive results. They’ve already rebuilt 1,200 houses and financed 400 micro-projects, of which 96 percent have moved forward. For those asking how they can help, he tells them in two ways.

IBRAHIM ALSABAGH
Pastor in Aleppo (Syria)
“First, pray. We have a lot of faith in the value of prayer and its power. In addition to prayer, any help is good. May each person follow what inspires his or her heart. The Holy Spirit surely inspires in favor of the most disadvantaged.”

This Syrian Franciscan, pastor in Aleppo, doesn’t mask his concern. He says the problem in Syria extends beyond its borders, and that if this conflict is not resolved, it could result in a very dark time for humanity.

It’s the same thing recalled by the pope, who expresses his fear of a new World War.