By Devin Watkins
France and the United Nations hosted an international donors conference on Wednesday to muster economic support for the suffering nation and people of Lebanon.
The “International Conference on Supporting Lebanon” came on the first anniversary of a massive explosion in the Port of Beirut which left over 218 people dead and the capital city in shambles.
Speaking through a video message sent to participants in the event, Msgr. Miroslaw Wachowski expressed Pope Francis’ and the Holy See’s support for the initiative and the Lebanese people.
Church’s support for Lebanese
The Undersecretary for Relations with States thanked the international community for its support immediately following the tragedy.
He also recalled the Catholic Church’s continuing humanitarian and spiritual assistance to the Lebanese people through her humanitarian agencies.
“On several occasions,” he noted, “Pope Francis and the Holy See have expressed deep concern for Lebanon, which, already afflicted by a serious socio-economic and political crisis, has now found itself facing another demanding trial.”
Nation of peace and fraternity
Msgr. Wachowski pointed out that Lebanon is “a great nation that bears witness to a unique experience of peaceful coexistence over the centuries.”
Rather than leave the Middle Eastern nation’s future to chance or to greedy hands, he urged all to commit to helping the country carry out its specific vocation.
“Lebanon is more than a Country,” he said, “it is a universal message of peace and fraternity.”
Chance for a better future
The Vatican official then renewed Pope Francis’ appeal, repeated at the end of the weekly General Audience held on the same day, to come to Lebanon’s aid in this moment of crisis.
“Let us help its people not to lose hope,” said Msgr. Wachowski, “and let us give the Lebanese a chance to be the protagonists of a better future in their land without undue interference.”
Finally, he expressed the Holy See’s hopes that the donors’ conference will “foster the conditions necessary to prevent Lebanon from sinking further into crisis, allowing it to start out on a path to recovery and an ascent that will be for the benefit of all.”