The Sadness of this War
You and I have had warmth and safe shelter this winter. But the refugees of the lengthy civil war in Syria are struggling to survive. Today, the winter temperatures in Syria are bitterly cold and drop below freezing at night. Due to the shortages of gas and oil and continuous price increases, most families are no longer able to buy fuel for heating. To make matters worse, in some areas where our friars serve, Christians are not allowed to work or to own or sell property, which limits their financial resources to pay for heat. More than 370,000 people have been killed in Syria since the war began in 2011. Last year, over 11,000 were killed, including 1,000 children. It was the least deadly year on record. Sadly, this is an improvement.
The Bitter Truth
Many of our Franciscan missionaries serve in areas were the conflict has intensified. Not long ago, five students and their catechist were killed when a rocket struck their classroom. A sixty-four-year-old teacher was home alone when rebels raped and tortured her, then killed her with stones. The refugees in these areas come to our missionaries for help. The friars still distribute emergency supplies of food, medicine, water and clothing to keep hope alive, but the need is so great that they are overwhelmed by the demand. They need our help! Now that winter is at its peak, about 210 families have come to our missionaries seeking help to keep their families warm. Fuel is expensive because it is in short supply and costly to transport in these dangerous areas. The Franciscan friars have limited resources and only can do so much.
Your Gift Will Keep Hope Alive
I am asking you to please renew your lifesaving generosity. The friars need additional help to provide families with heating oil to survive the winter months. With a gift of $15 you will keep hope alive and a family warm for an entire week! You can heat the home of a family for a month with a gift of $60 or for 3 months with $180! Your gift will help a family with children survive the winter. The most vulnerable people are the elderly and widows trying to care for their children alone. It is my hope and prayer that you will support our brave missionary friars in Syria as they serve people trapped in cruel living conditions. Will you stand with them in their time of need?
Your prayers and financial support will keep hope alive in the hearts of the innocent people living through the horror and the tragedy of these times.
Please help Franciscan missionaries respond to their cries for help. We Franciscans always remember you in our prayers with infinite gratitude.
God bless you.
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Your gift will reach across the ocean to the heart of war-torn Syria and to the heart of a child. Your gift enables the Franciscans to bear, in your name, the warmth of God’s love and compassion to these little ones and their families trapped in one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time!