ASIA/JORDAN - Syrian refugees await Pope Francis. The director of Caritas Jordan: they hope that the world will remember them

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Amman (Agenzia Fides) - A Syrian Muslim refugee from Homs and a Christian Iraqi refugees will tell Pope Francis their stories full of pain and fatigue during the meeting that the Bishop of Rome will have with refugees, the sick and disabled in Bethany beyond the Jordan, during his upcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
This was reported to Fides Agency by Wael Suleiman, director of Caritas Jordan.
The meeting with Pope Francis will be held in the church - not yet finished nor consecrated - that stands at the site of the Baptism, the place where according to tradition, Jesus went to be baptized by John the Baptist. Among the more than four hundred present, the Syrian and Iraqi refugees - both Christians and Muslims - housed in the Hashemite Kingdom, are at least fifty, and will give works of craft to the Pope.
"The Syrian and Iraqi refugees", explains Suleiman are looking forward to the Pope’s visit and are filled with hope and trepidation: among Iraqis, some have been living the refugee status for over twenty years. Everyone expects
the world will remember them, and that something will really change. I experienced it a few days ago, when Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga visited our Country as President of Caritas Internationalis, and celebrated Mass in Amman. There were more than 700 families of Christian refugees from Syria".
Pope Francis will meet the refugees, more than 350 disabled and sick people from more than twenty hospitals and health centers in Jordan. Among them, there will also be some children suffering from oncological diseases.
Hundreds of volunteers of Caritas Jordan are involved in the organization of the brief but intense papal visit in the Jordanian territory. In Bethany beyond the Jordan, they will serve dinner to all those present, after the end of the meeting with the Pope.
Now, among the Syrian refugees - says Suleiman - "Christians are certainly more than 20 thousand. A small number compared to the mass of one million and 300 thousand refugees who fled the Syrian conflict which according to government data in Amman are hosted in Jordan. But it is unlikely that Christians will return to Syria at the end of the war. This means that in some cities, like Homs and Aleppo, many Christian neighborhoods will remain empty". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 21/05/2014)