Rahi presides over Caritas annual mass

Under the slogan “We Will Remain… With Your Support”, Caritas Lebanon launches its annual campaign for 2023 in a mass celebrated by his Eminence Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al Rahi at the Patriarchal Edifice in Bkerke assisted by General Supervisor Archbishop Antoine Bou Najem, Bishop Samir Mazloum, Bishop Hanna Alwan, Caritas Lebanon President Father Michel Abboud, Patriarchal Secretary Father Hadi Daou, along with several other bishops, priests, nuns, in the presence of Caritas Lebanon members, board members, and numerous other believers.

During his sermon, the Patriarch praised Caritas Lebanon’s President, its board members, chief sectors, employees, volunteers, and its youth who are always present, day and night, no matter where and when, ready to stand by the people at a moment’s notice. He especially praised Bishop Michel Aoun for all of his guidance to Caritas throughout the years in the name of the Assembly of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, at the same time welcoming Archbishop Antoine Bou Najem from the Maronite Diocese of Antelias who will be following in his footsteps and guiding Caritas.

While addressing the people in his sermon the Patriarch expressed that “Caritas Lebanon is the official social representative of the church, just like the seven preachers who were brought forth by the apostles in order to serve the poor and the widowed, while devoting themselves to spreading the word and delivering the grace of redemption (see Acts 6:1-7).  The church is dedicated to 3 acts of servitude: the act of spreading the gospel of the lord, the act of servitude of the sacraments to purify the soul with divine grace, the act of serving with love the poor and the vulnerable. Caritas Lebanon is interconnected with the core message of the church that it received from Jesus Christ. The annual campaign they are launching, needs the support of everyone in order to help them with their message, their service to humanity, and the vast projects that they have available which are:

  • Providing health services through 10 different sectors, and through its 9 Medical Mobil Units that offers basic medical consultation and medication to the people in need.
  • Providing direct financial aid or financial aid through hospitals to all who ask for help without any discrimination.
  • Providing several social services to many different sectors for all ages, even to children ages 3 years old some of whom are refugees or immigrants with different nationalities. This also includes distributing food, arranging safe shelters, offering emergency financial aid, as well as, psychological and social support, and special educational centers for people with learning difficulties. There are currently 4 centers that provide special educational services.
  • Programs specifically catering to the needs of the migrants residing in Lebanon which are: health care, social care, housing, legal aid etc.…
  • Advocating for sustainable development, acquiring housing to shelter the families in need and securing restaurants that provide daily meals to anyone in need.

Caritas also works with various ambassadors from several countries and donors to conduct multiple meetings for society. In return, they were visited by and given many diplomatic missions by donors who came to unveil and start their programs, as well as, implement their strategic plans. Caritas always has and always will support the people despite any limitations it might face. It will remain helping those in need not just in Lebanon but also in neighboring countries, just like how members of the Youth provided aid to Syria after the earthquake. However, it cannot continue its mission and journey in humanity without assistance from its donors, the diaspora, and their supporters. We pray for them in this holy mass so that God may repay them with His blessings and gifts so that they may be witnesses to God’s love in this world.”

Father Michel Abboud in return thanked the Patriarch and addressed the people in a sermon stating that “I welcome Archbishop Antoine Bou Najem who has started his calling with us a few weeks ago. We trust in his enthusiasm, motivation, and guidance and are very grateful for Bishop Michel Aoun who was the general supervisor for 11 years guiding Caritas on its path. Thank you to all the bishops and priests who are present with us during this holy mass. Thank you to the mentors throughout all the sectors. It is only when we truly belong to Caritas Lebanon which works in the name of the Lord that we never forget our principles, our spirituality, and where we belong. Our identity is built upon our faith in Jesus Christ who captures the hearts of everyone with His love. We work with Him regardless of a person’s religion, political views, or background, for He has called upon us to be whole like Our Father in heaven who shines bright and casts His light on both evil and good. If nature is as unpredictable and volatile as it is yet it never stops giving back like the sun and the water, then how can we with God in our hearts ever stop working for the greater good. For that I thank you all. You who are Caritas’s family, board members, sectors along with its volunteers and staff, and its youth who tirelessly work and give back without ever expecting anything in return offering nothing but your love. Thank you to all who came from far and near so that we may gather here today together as one. The world has a hole in its heart that can only be filled with the word of God. It craves the meaning of existence, inner peace and inner joy that can never be fulfilled with monetary value. Our message exists to fill the hearts of the people with the gospel, and the word of the Lord. What we say is not important, but it is what God conveys to us. We work not for ourselves but in the name of the Lord. We cannot complete our mission without prayer and the word of God just like our inspirational predecessors Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed Father Yacoub Al Kabouchi, Mar Mansour, and St. Basilios who all knew God in their hearts, have felt His presence within themselves and truly understood the meaning of His word: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40).”

“We Will Remain… With Your Support” is a phrase we tell our donors and the people who support our message, because it is only with your assistance that we are able to continue with our mission. It is a slogan we tell every single person who comes knocking on our door asking for help despite the harsh reality. But we all know that when we walk through a tunnel there is only light waiting for us on the other side and until we reach that light, we hold on with candles illuminating the dark path never allowing the darkness to consume us and destroy our spirits. I thank the media today and every day for broadcasting our activities and telling our stories to the world. We will never forget the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, and the Youth that was present there to bridge the gap. Thank you everyone.”