Pope Francis has written a Christmas letter to the people of Lebanon encouraging them to trust in God during times of crisis.
“Beloved sons and daughters of Lebanon, I am deeply troubled to see the suffering and anguish that has sapped the native resilience and resourcefulness of the Land of the Cedars,” Pope Francis wrote in the letter published Dec. 24.
“On this Christmas Day, however, ‘the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’ — the light that lessens our fears and instils in each of us the sure hope that God’s Providence will never abandon Lebanon and will turn this time of sadness to good,” he wrote.
Lebanon has faced an economic and political crisis in 2020 which was exacerbated by a devastating explosion in Beirut’s port on Aug. 4. The blast killed nearly 200 people, injured 600 others, and caused more than $4 billion dollars in damage.
Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholics, said last month that the country’s instability has “caused a bitter economic crisis, which increased the poverty rate and caused the exodus of population.”
In Pope Francis’ letter sent to Cardinal Rai, the pope expressed his “affection for the beloved people of Lebanon,” adding that he hopes to visit the country as soon as possible.
The pope appealed to the international community to “help Lebanon stand apart from conflicts and regional tensions.”
Read more at Catholic News Agency