In a letter sent to Franciscan friars in Syria, His Holiness Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the “martyred land of Syria.” The Pontiff wrote, “I wish to share in your sufferings and tell you that I am close to you and to the Christian communities which are so tried by the pain experienced in their faith in Christ Jesus.” The Pontiff’s letter was addressed to Fathers Hanna Jallouf and Louai Bsharat, OFM.
As reported by Vatican news, His Holiness Pope Francis reflected on the great suffering, poverty, and pain that Jesus experiences in the Syrian people. “It is Jesus! This is a mystery. It is our Christian mystery. In you and in the inhabitants of our beloved Syria, we see Jesus suffering.” His Holiness Pope Francis compared their sufferings to martyrdom. “Nothing more than martyrdom can mark the Christian’s way of participating in humanity’s salvation history.”
His Holiness Pope Francis assured the Franciscan friars stationed in Syria that he remembers them constantly during Mass and prays that their “unspeakable pain” may be transformed into divine hope. Finally, the Pontiff prayed that the Virgin Mary guard the Franciscans in Syria “under her Cloak of Grace” and that she intercede for them to receive “the gift of perseverance.”