Aleppo’s Catholic Church is helping rebuild hope in the shattered city through an innovative programme of support for young people and children.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo has said the Church is hoping to raise a “new generation” and a “new Church” in the city. As part of his vision of renewal for the city, Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart has called on Aleppo’s young people to have more children.
Jeanbart says that many of them have previously been reluctant, thinking “Why would a person bring a child into the world at this time?” Now though, his archdiocese has arranged a sponsorship programme to support young children for the first four years of their life. Last year, his church celebrated the birth of more than 100 children.
Jeanbart says his “most important project” is the ‘Build to Stay’ movement, a rebuilding initiative aimed at providing housing, jobs and a livelihood for those in Aleppo. He says the project recently gave out 65 no-interest loans to young people so that they can rebuild their lives. He also hopes that over time, refugees who once fled will be able to return, and his archdiocese hopes to help those who cannot afford the return travel costs.
“If families come back,” he said, “it will encourage people to stay and others to persevere.”
Jeanbart hopes to not only help restore the Church in Aleppo, but sees the Church as being vital to a hopeful restoration of Aleppo itself.
“The city is ours, the land is ours, Syria is ours, and we have to continue this presence because it is a holy land. Syria is a holy land,” he said. “If I can give my life for that, it will be worth it.”
- Give thanks for the end to the fighting in and around Aleppo, and for renewed hope for the future of people living there.
- Give thanks for this initiative by the Church in Aleppo, to encourage and help people rebuild the city and their war-shattered lives.
- Pray for the rebuilding of Aleppo, for many refugees to return to their homes, and the streets to ring with the sound of Children playing once again.
- Pray for those who receive financial help and other support from the Church, that many will also hear of the hope and healing that is offered through the Gospel of Jesus and come to know His life and love.
- Pray for peace to come to the whole of Syria, and for healing for this devastated nation.
Isaiah 58 vs 12: “Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”