On Sunday, 15th September 2019, the prayer action was launched in Rome by Pope Francis in solidarity with Syria, where 34 Syrian dioceses – both Catholic and Orthodox – gathered to pray on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. While in Rome, the Holy Father blessed the icon of “Our Lady of Sorrows, Consoler of Syrians” to be sent in peregrination to all dioceses of Syria to pray for peace through the mighty intercession of the Virgin Mary. Pope Francis met with a delegation of Aid to the Church in Need led by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the International President of the Foundation and including also Fr. Spiridon Kabbash, a Greek Orthodox Priest from Homs (Syria), who wrote the icon specially for this occasion.
At the same time in Syria, many Catholic and Orthodox faithful took part in celebrations and processions in their parishes commemorating those who were killed or abducted during the war and praying for their families. At this occasion some 2000 Christian families, who have lost one or more loved ones during the conflict and 800 who had a family member abducted received rosaries with the blessing of the Holy Father, the Bibles in Arabic donated by ACN, along with crosses made of olive wood from the Holy Land and blessed by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ephraim III.
The campaign “Console my people” continues with the peregrination of the icon of “Our Lady of Sorrows, consoler of Syrians”, blessed by the Holy Father. The spiritual presence of the Virgin Mary is very important in this difficult time, because of her maternal and compassionate presence. The Mother of God “advanced on the pilgrimage of faith” and the Eastern Churches follow her and ask through her intercession for peace and prosperity for this people who suffered so much.
Gathered in prayer around Mary, we entrust Syria to her motherly care and implore her to take all Syrians under the mantle of her protection. We invoke from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, to console and comfort all Syrian Christians in their ordeal and guide them on the path of reconciliation and peace. We hope that after nine months of peregrination and prayer, which are like a pregnancy, peace and hope will be born in the hearts of many and will reign in all Syria forever.