LONDON, June 14, 2013–The priest, who cannot be named, sent a report to the charity Aid to the Church in Need, which is supporting Syrians with an aid package of £25,450 (€30,000) for a center in Homs, on top of £42,450 (€50,000) given last year.
The report details the priest’s struggle to provide basic food, shelter and medicine to more than 30,000 people fleeing violence amid ongoing bomb blasts and other violence.
He goes on to give an account of the “many explosions” of the past week in his quarter of Homs, one of which took place very near to his church.
The car bomb left 11 people dead, of whom five were his parishioners.
An earlier explosion caused the death of a 10-year-old boy from the Catholic community centre next to his church. Three other children were injured.
In his report, the priest pays tribute to a Jesuit priest and 74 other Christians living in a “siege[–like] manner” in Homs’ ancient Old City, where many historic churches, mosques and other buildings lie in ruins after fierce fighting.
Facing a shortage of food and medicine, the Jesuit and his flock rely on aid parcels being sent to them.
Describing life for the Jesuit and his people, the priest writes that people continue to cling to hope in spite of the difficulties.
He said: “We have a great hope. Churches still ring bells for prayers and all people come and share Mass.”
Quoting Pope Francis, he writes: “Nobody can steal our hope and joyfulness.” (Zenit)