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With image of Beirut explosion (Credit: Father Samer Nassif)
On the eve of the anniversary of the Beirut port explosion (4th August), Christians in Lebanon have expressed hope and optimism for the future – despite the worst economic crisis in 150 years and the ever-present threat of migration.

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Father Raymond Abdo, Provincial of the Discalced Carmelites in Lebanon, praised Pope Francis’ inspirational support.

He said: “Pope Francis has given us hope that we can confront this crisis, with his appeal to the universal Church not to let us go under. The Pope is not going to abandon the Church in Lebanon.”

The pontiff organised a meeting for Lebanese Christian leaders at the Vatican last month.
Father Abdo added: “We are regaining some degree of confidence despite all the difficulties. Why should we fear anything when we have our faith in Jesus Christ?" 
On 4th August last year an explosion in Beirut, set off by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, killed more than 200 people and left more than 300,000 homeless.

The country is experiencing a serious economic crisis that has led to spiralling inflation with more than 50 percent of the population living below the poverty threshold due to corruption, weak public infrastructure and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christian lawyer Wajih Raad told ACN that despite a pessimistic atmosphere and people wanting to leave, the Christian community will survive.
He said: “It’s going to take several years, but we’ll get through it.”
ACN has supported the Christian community with help rebuilding in the Christian Quarter which was badly hit by the explosion.
 
Read more here.
 
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Faith in the future

Young people are so excited by the joy of the Gospel that an ACN-backed catechesis programme has grown significantly over the past year.
There are now 1,150 young people on the course in Homs run by Jesuit priest Father Vincent de Beaucoudrey. Read more here.
Events
Piano Recital:
‘From Mourning to Dancing, from Tears to Joy’ 
9th September 2021 7pm – 9pm
St Wilfrid’s Hall, Brompton Oratory, Brompton Road, London SW7 2RP

If you are in London on the day, please join us for a late summer evening musical meditation with poetry on the joyful witness of Faith shown by our persecuted brothers and sisters.
World-class pianists, Imma Setiadi and Nigel Clayton bring us a programme of pieces for four hands by Debussy, Dvorak, Brahms and Chabrier, inspired by song and dance. The evening will also premiere a piece, inspired by Psalm 126, written specially for the occasion by Dr Philip Wilby. Entrance is free and a collection will be taken for ACN’s work in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Due to COVID guidelines and more limited capacity, please reserve your places via Eventbrite at www.acnuk.org/piano21
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A Heart Like Mary’s
As the month of August is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 'A Heart like Mary's' is the perfect book for all Catholics wishing to begin or deepen their devotion to Mary. Author and Marian theologian Rev. Edward Looney guides us through thirty-one daily meditations on the unique characteristics of Mary’s heart. This easy-to-read and engaging monthly devotional is full of practical lessons that address the personal challenges we all face as Mary’s fellow pilgrims walking the path of faith. Buy it here.
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