Maureen Thompson our parish volunteer at St Joseph’s Havant and SS Thomas More & St Thomas of Canterbury Emsworth has written this article about the parish response to the explosion in Beirut.
Our hearts went out to the people of Beirut recently when we saw the terrible devastation from the explosion in the port of Beirut in Lebanon. A beautiful country already struggling to support over a million refugees, challenged financially, facing up to corruption, as well as the pandemic, now the devastation of the Port leaves people homeless and struggling for basic needs.
CAFOD has launched an urgent appeal to increase the support for their partner Caritas Lebanon, already working through churches in Lebanon with volunteers supporting families affected by the explosion with medical kits, emergency food, hygiene packs and help to find shelter.
Caritas Lebanon writes
“Two weeks after twin explosions devastated the port area of Beirut and left around 300,000 people homeless, we are focusing on providing healthcare, covering basic needs such as food and water and repairing homes and shelters. Caritas Lebanon helped more than 46,200 people in the capital and provided them with more than 38,200-hot meals in the first nine days after the blasts. More than 4,500 people received medicines from Caritas, which has also distributed first aid and hygiene kits and food kits and continues to do house calls. Over 170 people died as a result of the two explosions caused by the poorly stored ammonium nitrate. Beyond the death toll, the 6000 people injured and the 300,000 made homeless, the impact of the explosions on the Lebanese capital is catastrophic and the needs are massive.”
Donate to the Beirut Emergency Appeal
Please donate directly to help survivors and their families in the aftermath
One of our parish families Mona and Nabil have their own family connections in Lebanon and they have been in touch directly with people there, hearing some very difficult stories of food shortages. So, Mona offered parishioners a slice of Lebanese cake to enjoy with a coffee. Hoping this small gesture will act in the spirit of solidarity encouraging prayers for those in Lebanon. We called round to lots of homes especially of people we have not seen since March. It was lovely to be welcomed by so many people we have missed from our church community for so long- everyone loves cake and we had plenty of promises of prayer and financial support.
On 9th August Pope Francis made a special appeal for solidarity with Lebanon at his Sunday Angelus. He said “Last Tuesday’s catastrophe calls everyone, beginning with the Lebanese people, to work together for the common good of this beloved country. Lebanon has a particular identity, fruit of the encounter of different cultures, that has emerged over the course of time as a model of living together. Certainly, this coexistence is now very fragile, we know this, but I am praying that, with God’s help and everyone’s genuine participation, it may be reborn free and strong,”
Mary, Our Lady, Queen of Lebanon
Our Lady, the Cedar of Lebanon,”
grant us the faith to withstand
the sweeping blows of life as
the cedar stands straight against the wind.
We kneel at your feet, begging for your blessings
and asking your intercession to heal
and console all the victims of the blast in Beirut.
Grant them hope and courage to rebuild their lives under your loving mantel. Amen
This statue of Our Lady of Lebanon stretches her hands towards Beirut. The shrine draws millions of faithful, both Christians and Muslims, from all over the world and now looks down on the devastated port.
Our Lady Queen of Lebanon, we pray for the people of the Lebanon.