Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - "We are children of the Resurrection, of Hope, and we firmly believe that this suffering will not be in vain: following the footsteps of the saints and martyrs, we add them to the Passion of Christ, so they may become sanctified and sanctifying suffering, for peace in Syria and the salvation of our city". This is what the Catholic Bishops of Aleppo said in a message addressed primarily to the faithful, offering words of consolation and hope to the inhabitants of the martyred Syrian city, again disrupted by the resurgence of conflict both in neighborhoods controlled by the government and in those where rebel militias are situated, with artillery launches and bombings which also hit a hospital run by Doctors without Borders.
In a message sent to Agenzia Fides, the Catholic Bishops of Aleppo launch an appeal "to the consciences of those who project and carry out this war", pleading aloud, "Enough!" for the "love of God" and "mercy of men" for "the cry of blood of children and martyrs" and "for the tears of the bereaved mothers".
In the delirium of death and violence that engulfs Aleppo, the Catholic Bishops finally express a Christian gaze to the suffering of their brothers in faith and all their fellow citizens.
The Bishops of Aleppo invite everyone not to "give in to sadness and despair", and suggest that in their mysterious participation in the passion of Christ the suffering of Christians in Aleppo makes sense to the world as something which happens in the history of the mystery of salvation announced by the Gospel. "This" refer the Bishops in their statement "is the most important meaning of why we are and remain in Aleppo". In this perspective, may the Catholic Pastors of the martyred Syrian city renew the consecration of Aleppo to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to her "who in her apparitions in Fatima had asked for the consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart in order to obtain peace". In particular, in the month of May dedicated to Mary, the Bishops ask Catholics to offer "prayers, especially the Rosary, in our churches for this intention".
Syrian Catholic Archbishop Antoine Denys Chahda, Greek Melkite Archbishop Jean Clément Jeanbart, Maronite Archbishop Joseph Tobji, Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati and Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo together with the Franciscan Georges Abou Khazen OFM, Apostolic Vicar for Catholics of the Latin rite are part of of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Aleppo. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 02/05/2016)