Wednesday, May 22, 2013
On Tuesday, May 21st, I participated in a candlelight procession for the kidnapped vicars and priests in Damascus. (Though it was too light outside to have the effect of lit candles.) Recently, several members of the clergy have been abducted without much information being shed on the motives or the persons or organizations who did it. The clergy are from the Orthodox churches because the Latin clergy is much smaller in number.
All churches gathered outside of the Roman Orthodox Vicariate for a statement by the religious leaders. A procession then moved by the Latin Vicariate and then to the Syrian Orthodox vicariate also in Sweifieh. Perhaps forty clergy member processed, including priests, bishops and patriarchs, and a large number of the Catholic faithful joined it.
I was moved to see the good number of people who participated in the prayer at the Syrian Cathedral following the procession. The churches came together in solidarity, not for any political purpose, but as a show of unity and compassion for those who have been abducted. Bishop Maroun Lahham read a joint statement on behalf of all the Catholic churches in the area who stand in solidarity with the kidnapped religious leaders.