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Friar helps refugees fleeing Syria says a child acted out the bombs, death of mom and sister


Fr. Luke is a Franciscan friar with a first-hand account of a war-torn Syria. As a member of the governing body of the Sepulchre of the Holy Land, he went to visit the country where he was in charge of assigning and sending priests. 

Now he recounts what he had seen both during the bombing and also by welcoming the thousands refugees who flee to Greece. 

FR. JOHN LUKE GREGORY
Franciscan Friar

“I went to Syria in 2016 during the war because we have many Franciscan monasteries there. 4:12 FLASH 5:03 When I was in Homs, I couldn't have ever imagined to experience something similar. To see not a street that's been flattened by bombing.. a whole zone. If you don't see this for yourself, you can't imagine what this would be like for people to live under that, that kind of bombardment.”

He asserts the fear the refugees have when they arrive to Greece is incomprehensible. Many don't even know where they are, believing England or France, due to a lack of education.

Fr. Luke says one little girl, shown in this book, had to flee her home in Syria. During the trips by night, she lost her parents. While she was eventually reunited with them, there were many concerns that filled the six-year-old's mind. 

FR. JOHN LUKE GREGORY
Franciscan Friar

“As a child, what she was worried about more than anything she told me, 'I have to leave my toys. She wanted to know who was going to sleep in her bed. She wanted to know the man at the library, what was going to happen about him? All these simple things, because children just speak very honestly about what they're feeling.”

In the same sense, the friar met a young boy who had a horrific experience he explained through actions. 

FR. JOHN LUKE GREGORY
Franciscan Friar

“They were traveling on a road and there was an air raid, and the mother and sister died. Now he's four years old. He was describing this to me about making the noises of the airplane and then the bombs dropping, and then he got on the floor and he showed me how the mother was laying on the floor and the sister.”

He says that while he's not an expert in migration, he knows the stories he's been told during his 15 years in Greece, where he welcomes thousands of refugees and runs five parishes with another friar. He says the terror has not ended and families will continue fleeing until a sense of normality returns to Syria.