3rd June

I have an uneasy feeling that I’m not concerned enough or doing enough about the firestorm that has been unleashed against Christians in the Middle East. The firestorm is due in no small part to the war that George Bush and Tony Blair waged against Iraq. Here is an excerpt from a recent AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED (ACN) newsletter about an abducted Syrian priest. Perhaps you can keep him in your prayers.

Priests in Syria have appealed for prayers for kidnapped priest Father Jacques MouradFr Jacques Mourad from Mar Ellian Monastery in Syria. He has bee and his colleague as uncertainty about their fate mounts.

Speaking to ACN a week after the abduction, Fr Jacques’s confrere, Fr Jihad Youssef, said: “Please pray for Fr 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.”

The Syrian priest paid tribute to Fr Mourad’s work with the displaced who had been driven out of their homes.

He said: “In the monastery of Mar Elian in Qaryatayn Fr Jacques dedicated himself to the people suffering from the consequences of the Syrian war.

Fr Youssef stressed that everyone was being helped by the Church, regardless of their religion. He said: “Fr Jacques made no distinction between Christians or Muslims. He helped anyone in distress.”

With your help, ACN has been supporting the work helping displaced Syrians at the monastery of Mar Elian.

Before Fr Jacques was abducted last week, he emailed ACN to thank us, and in-turn, all of you, for your support and described the ongoing work. He said: “We have received many who were asking for shelter in our safe monastery. When there was a possibility for these families to go back we tried to help them in the restoration of their houses.”

“We are trying to help some of these families offering children’s clothes and some presents especially in the occasions of the feasts.”

Please keep Fr Jacques in your thoughts and pray for his safe return.