Pope Francis and Christian leaders commit to working with everyone for peace in Lebanon
After a day of three long closed-door meetings, the Pope and nine representatives of the Christian Churches in Lebanon gathered together to ask God for forgiveness and to pray for peace and stability.
They prayed in Arabic...
...and in Syriac.
During the encounter, they recited Psalms and read the Beatitudes.
Then the Pope invited them to pray the Lord's Prayer, each in his own language.
They didn't explain the content of their private meetings, but Pope Francis gave a final speech that likely summed up their conversations.
It was an appeal to each person, within and outside Lebanon, to take responsibility for the situation.
“Stop using Lebanon and the Middle East for outside interests and profits! The Lebanese people must be given the opportunity to be the architects of a better future in their land, without undue interference.”
The Pope and other Christian leaders present fear the collapse of Lebanon, which is the only country in the Middle East where Christians aren't a small minority.
That's why Pope Francis said that those gathered made a commitment to collaborate, “not nursing past grudges” nor “shirking the responsibilities of the present.”
“As Christians, today we wish to renew our commitment to building a future together. For our future will be peaceful only if it is shared. Let us therefore assure our Muslim brothers and sisters, and those of other religions, of our openness and readiness to work together in building fraternity and promoting peace.”
Each of the representatives, among them an Evangelical, but also Orthodox and Armenian Christians, received a lit candle from a young person from Lebanon.
Before bidding them farewell, the Pope asked them to keep the future of these young people in mind, and to remember the tears of the country's children when making decisions for their people.