Materials Purchased for the Training of Young Catechists in Lebanon
Since the war in Syria, Lebanon has had to cope with an unimaginable flood of refugees, above all in relation to its relatively small population. With just 4.25 million inhabitants, it is currently giving shelter to an additional almost 1.6 million refugees from neighboring Syria. But even before this, there were already other refugees in the country, people who fled here after the second Iraqi war in 2003.
Many of these refugees are Chaldean Christians, and currently the Chaldean Catholic Church in Lebanon is caring for more than 12,000 refugees from Iraq, in addition to numerous Chaldean families who have fled here from Syria. Many have settled in the poorer suburbs of the capital, Beirut.
An area of particular concern for the Chaldean Catholic Church is the pastoral care of young people, who can often lose their footing when they find themselves in a foreign country without any real prospects for the future. Being rooted in the faith and in the life of the Church helps to give them a sense of stability. And so, every Sunday afternoon, some 150 young people come together in Beirut for shared prayers, meditation and shared reading of the Holy Scriptures.
Also, every other week, there are catechetical classes for young people, in which such things as the sacraments and the faith of the Church, the liturgy, the Church's moral teachings and many other issues are discussed. In addition there are opportunities to take part in retreats and days of reflection.
There are seven young lay helpers assisting the priests by leading the youth meetings, helping the nuns to prepare the younger children for their First Holy Communion, and many other useful tasks besides. However, sheer goodwill and enthusiasm are not always enough. Instead, the young people who are getting involved in this way themselves need proper training. Also, there is a need for teaching materials for the catechetical sessions.
And so, last year, Chaldean Catholic Bishop Michel Kassarji of Beirut turned to ACN for help with this program, which is a matter dear to his heart. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we did not have to disappoint him, but were able to help him with a contribution of $7,700. He thanks you with all his heart and writes to us, "We are happy for the help you have been able to give us, which is a sign of the communion between us."