Prayer, deep concern and high praise for abducted Syrian priest

"Father Jacques made no distinction between Christians or Muslims. He helped anyone in distress."

By Oliver Maksan

DAMASCUS—Following the abduction of the Catholic monk Jacques Mourad and a companion on Thursday last week, Syrian Christians have been heartbroken.

One of the members of Father Mourad’s community told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (CAN): "Please pray for Father Jacques and his companion, as well as for our community. Armed masked men took both of them away. We don't know who it was and where our brothers are at this moment. We're totally in the dark.” Those were the words of said Father Jihad Youssef of the Catholic order of Mar Musa, of which Father Jacques is also a member. 

Father Youssef continued: "In the monastery of Mar Elian in Qaryatayn, Father Jacques dedicated himself to the people suffering from the consequences of the Syrian war. In particular he set great store by renovation projects to enable people to live again in their houses, which had been destroyed. But the psychological care of people in the war and other emergency humanitarian aid were also important to him. For years he had cared for war refugees.

"Father Jacques made no distinction between Christians or Muslims. He helped anyone in distress."

Recently, Father Mourad had told ACN: "Our efforts to help the hard-pressed and suffering Muslims in our area is nothing other than the expression of the position of the Church, which sees itself as inseparably connected with the image of Christ crucified. Our witness today is a reflex of the light emanating from the Cross, heralding a new dawn of the hope of resurrection for the whole of humanity." 

The head of ACN Middle East department, Father Andrzej Halemba commented that “once again we are experiencing an example of blind hatred. Father Jacques always helped all people, be they Christians or Muslims. He helped everyone, but never took sides.

"Why should such a man be abducted? We can see once again how the war is claiming the best people. Father Jacques is a spiritual leader of Christians and Muslims. People of both religions look up to him and trust him."


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