ACN supports the reconstruction of 290 houses in ecumenical joint venture for all Christians in Homs, Syria

by Irmina Nockiewicz

The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need celebrated the opening of the new reconstruction project in Syria on Friday, 31st May 2019. Over6,000 houses of Christian families were damaged during the war in this country. ACN supports the reconstruction of another 290 houses, this ads to those already renovated with ACN assistance. As a Catholic Charity ACN endeavours through pastoral and charitable projects to redress all wrongs the Church suffered in Syria.

Christian families, who are beneficiaries of this programme came to the church to celebrate, they repeated after psalmist “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” During the war time they often experienced how true these words were. In many situations of danger and distress they could rely only on their faith. They kept praying and they witnessed how much God cares for them. For many, who were internally displaced it is a bright moment after so many dark days of suffering they had to endure. “We are happy to help – with a big smile announces Father Halemba, the head of projects for the Middle East for Aid to the Church in Need “and I hope we will continue it is very much needed”.

 

When their lives fell in ruins, their houses and their professional careers turned to dust too, some buried their hopes for the future in Syria and migrated. Nevertheless, those who keep on hoping for a better future in Syria are still there, despite the fact that today people are hit with strokes from everywhere: they experience unemployment, sicknesses, shortages of electricity and poverty… Christians in Syria expect that God will somehow help them staying in their land, the land of their fathers, even though they do not receive an equal treatment, considered as second-class citizens. They eagerly confirm “Jesus is our rock”. God helps them to carry on, many people of good will also help. The ACN benefactors stretched a helping hand providing with nearly one million USD (890,000 EUR)  for renovation of 290 houses of Christian families. The renovation of one house foresee to cover the amount of 3,500 EUR maximum, for an average European it is an equivalent of a tenancy deposit for a small apartment. This reconstruction project is located in the very centre of the city of Homs, once upon a time it was a majoritarian Christian district.

“ACN stood always close to us, without differentiating”, highlighted Greek Orthodox Archbishop George Abou Zakhem and he added, “we believe it will continue”. His words were confirmed with the presence of all Christian leaders of all Church rites in Homs. Unity among Christians in Homs became haptic, however social unity of all citizens is not even on the horizon. The Orthodox hierarch insisted: “Many people want to push us, Christians, away from this town and out of this country, but we will make our possible to stay. We will make our possible to bear witness.”

God is creator indeed and now he acts through people of good will, summarises Amer, the local coordinator of the reconstruction project assisting the Homs Reconstruction Committee, the ecumenical body in charge of the common relief projects. He adds that God, who is maker of heaven and earth, in this case is also maker of the houses. Tired but joyful seeing so many people being helped in their distress, Amer hopes that the day will come when there will be peace and prosperity in his country and Christians in Syria will be able to help the others in their turn. We pray in solidarity with them.