One year has passed since kidnapping of Armenian priest in Syria
The Civil war in Syria has killed over 100,000 people, and displaced millions more, without any regard to age, gender, or religion. Once thriving Christian populations have been decimated. Among their flock, the shepherds also face uncertainty and danger.
On February 9, 2013, Fr. Michael Kayal, a Armenian Catholic priest disappeared. He and a Greek-Orthodox colleague had been visiting with families displaced by violence in Aleppo. No one has heard from him since.
MSGR. GEORGES DANKAYE Rector, Pontifical Armenian College "He and other young priests stayed busy. They would go visit refugees, making sure to bring them food, or anything else they needed.â?
Msgr. Dankaye was stunned. Just three years before, Fr. Michael had been a seminarian at Rome's Armenian College. He was due to fly to Rome the day he disappeared.
In the months of anguish over his whereabouts, little hope emerged. Instead, his loved ones learned of other priests and bishops kidnapped in Syria. Their fates are also unknown.
MSGR. GEORGES DANKAYE Rector, Pontifical Armenian College "All clergy in Syria, from all faiths and confessions, are living out a new kind of martyrdom. The sole act of staying with the people provides great testimony for their congregations.â?
To mark the somber anniversary of his disappearance, the Armenian College will organize a Mass for Fr. Michael on Sunday, February 17. Against all odds, they're hanging on to hope.
MSGR. GEORGES DANKAYE Rector, Pontifical Armenian College
"Prayer seems our only refuge, for him, and to console our hearts. But also, to pray for the hopes of embracing him and having him with us once again.â?
Msgr. Dankaye says an ongoing investigation in Syria has come up empty-handed. But given the situation on the ground, it's not surprising. Nonetheless, their holding on to hope, but not just for Fr. Michael's safe return.
During Mass, Msgr. Dankaye will also pray for peace. He will pray so that negotiations bear fruit, and that both sides come to the table with good will, and the best interest of all Syrians.
RCA AA VM -PR Up:KLH