“Let us pray and help Christians to remain in Syria and the Middle East as witnesses of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation,” says the pope.
The pope has joined the global campaign “Candles for peace in Syria.” He did so, with this gesture.
“I would like to make my own gesture for the hope of peace for the children of Syria, of beloved Syria, tormented by an eight-year war. Therefore, as I join the Aid to the Church in Need’s initiative, I will light a candle, along with many children who will do the same. There are Syrian children and many in the world who are now lighting their candles.”
The pope asked the thousands of visitors to pray with him for peace in Syria and for the Christians who are still living in the country.
“Let us pray and help Christians to remain in Syria and the Middle East as witnesses of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.”
The “Candles for Peace in Syria” campaign started just a few days ago in parishes and schools like this one in Syria.
In cities affected by the war like Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus, victims of the conflict decorated candles and lit them as a plea for peace in their country.
Now, candles are being lit all over the world. Each meant to be a reminder of the tragic situation and to help raise awareness.
The candle Pope Francis lit has a history. It was prepared by Sr. Annie Demerjian together with a Syrian artist living in Damascus. The candle depicts the faces of around 40 children from Aleppo.
Sr. Annie is the one of the protagonists of this campaign started by the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
This organization encourages everyone to join the pope by lighting a candle for Syrians. Also to pray and look for ways to help those in Syria during the Christmas season.
With the proceeds from this campaign they hope to support the families who have not left Syria, so that Christianity does not disappear from this country. Before the war they were 10 percent of the population, and now they are only three percent.