Patriarch Gregorios III, as President of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, together with Syrian Catholic and Maronite and Armenian Catholic bishops and Latin Catholic priests, today (31 March) received at the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Damascus Mgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, Secretary of the Papal Council Cor Unum accompanied by the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Mario Zenari. Mgr. Dal Toso was delivering one hundred thousand dollars for urgent humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
The sum had been earmarked by the Pope for immediate assistance to the Syrian “population exhausted from violence.”
Benedict XVI has also decided to devolve the collections gathered during Holy Thursday Mass that he will celebrate on the 5th of April in the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano to the humanitarian assistance of Syrian refugees.
The Catholic Churches of Syria are currently engaged, especially through Caritas Syria, and working in the name of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, in projects of assistance to the Syrian population without distinction on grounds of politics or religion through their charitable branches, in particular in the areas of Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. Cor Unum highlights that “we know the Holy Father’s repeated calls for the cessation of violence in Syria and that a way be found for dialogue and reconciliation between the warring parties, with a view to peace and the common good… The Pope,” concludes the Cor Unum text, “exhorts us to pray for those who are suffering in this country.”
On Good Friday, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, whose President is Cardinal Robert Sarah, will send the money raised during the evening Mass celebrated by the Pope on Holy Thursday to Caritas Syria, which will use it to assist Syrian refugees and victims of war.
Patriarch Gregorios III, speaking during the Divine Liturgy held on Palm Sunday, thanked the Holy Father for his love to Syria and all its people. Syrian television also broadcast thanks from the Syrian Government to Pope Benedict XVI.