Caritas Lebanon President Father Michel Abboud received from President Michel Aoun, on behalf of Caritas Lebanon organization, the Silver Medal of Merit, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, to honor its 50 years of serving humanity.
Father Abboud was accompanied by Caritas Lebanon’s General Supervisor Bishop Michel Aoun, Vice President Dr. Nicolas Al Hajjar, as well as, members of Caritas Lebanon: Fady Karam, Nadim Nader, Father Ziad Al-Haddad, Andre Kouek, May Merhej, Mireille Haddad, Dola Chamoun, Philip Saleh, Serge Karnaby, Gilbert Zouein, George Abi Hanna, Roger Chahine, Nayla El-Khoury and Azar Azar.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the Director General of Protocols at the Presidency of the Republic Dr. Nabil Chedid acknowledged that Caritas “is the guardian of the Lebanese people ever since it was founded and whose sole work and presence is hope and triumph over pain. It heals the wounds of so many people, regardless of their religious and political views, embodying the verse in revelations 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Caritas’s journey with Lebanon is an endless journey filled with the highest devotion for humankind. It has been done before by many of the former presidents and even today with Father Michel who breathed life and spirit back into the people giving them a symbol of hope and perseverance. For all that Caritas has done in the name of Lebanon to help the vulnerable people, President Michel Aoun has decided to award Caritas Lebanon the Silver Lebanese Order of Merit Medal and to take this as a moment not only to appreciate everything that they have done but also as a show of loyalty.”
Following the commencement of the ceremony, President Aoun presented the medal to Father Abboud after which Bishop Aoun thanked the President for his initiative towards Caritas throughout its 50 years of service to humanity regardless of a person’s age, gender, race, religion and political standing. The bishop expressed his joy stating that “We are overwhelmed with joy today when our country’s President appreciates all that Caritas has done. In spite of the difficult circumstances that Lebanon is going through and the limited resources that it has, Caritas has been able to provide humanitarian aid and develop projects to support the vulnerable.”
Then, father Michel Abboud addressed the President:
We stand before you here today to thank you for this honor and this award that you have specifically chosen to extend to Caritas Lebanon upon its golden jubilee. This merit that is presented to Caritas, is written with the cries of the people, with the tears of a mother, with a father who stands before us, beside us and inside of our centers pleading for help and asking us to stand by them and help them raise their kids. It was written with the pain of every single person needing but a pill to relieve their pain, with the sigh of relief coming from a senior citizen after opening up their home to us, with the people’s gratitude whose children were welcomed with open arms after being hardened and beat down by life hindering their mental and physical development, and with the tearful gratitude of every person who got a job and was able to stand up on two feet and face life with dignity and grace. To every single person who Caritas has provided aid to, this one is for you. Caritas Lebanon carries over 50 years of history. It was born in the midst of disasters, where it has always been and will always be to this day working in the name of the Lord under His protection and through the prayers of all those who have been with us.
We are honored to receive this merit today and we dedicate it to everyone who made an impact on Caritas and imprinted on it. Mr. President many of the people who molded Caritas either work as employees, as volunteers, in sectors, or as members of the youth giving their all and not asking for anything in return. It is with the people’s prayers and thoughts that we are strengthened and we keep pushing forward. We ask the Lord as we receive this award to be with us as we keep giving back to our community with hearts filled with love in hopes of serving humanity.
Thank you, Mr. President, for this great honor that you have bestowed upon Caritas Lebanon, we have but only to offer our prayers as we hold on knowing that this is not the end, it is only the doorway to eternal life in heaven where Jesus is.”
President Aoun acknowledges Caritas Lebanon and its President Father Michel Abboud and all “the work it has been doing regardless of a person’s age, gender, race, religion and political standing. It serves humanity and does not discriminate against the vulnerable. It works in silence and does not seek acknowledgement and praise in whatever they do, which is why when you extend a helping hand to the people in need you imprint yourselves in their hearts forever.”