ACN Project of the Week – Lebanon
5,000 Bibles for the youth apostolate in the Archdiocese of Zahleh
More and more Christians are leaving the Middle-East. This Exodus is not only affecting Syria and Iraq, but Lebanon as well. In the quite recent past, this was the only country in the Middle East with a Christian majority population. But now, Christians are an ever shrinking minority. Back in the civil, some 700,000 Christians left the country 1975 to 1990 – the exodus continues to this day. Christians now represent just 34% of the total population, and only a quarter of young people under the age of 25.
The mass exodus of Christians from the Middle East is frequently described as a tsunami. In August 2015 Patriarch Gregorios III, who was then still head of the Melkite Catholic Church, wrote an open letter to young people in which he said, “The general wave of emigration among young people, especially in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Iraq, breaks my heart, wounds me deeply and feels like a death blow to me. What future can the Church have in the face of such a tsunami of emigration? What will become of our homeland? What will happen to our parishes and Church facilities?”
In response to this crisis, the Melkite Catholic Church has mobilized in the 40 parishes belonging to the archdiocese of Zaleh, in pursuing an intensive youth apostolate. For it is clear that the more firmly young people are rooted in their faith and in the life of the Church, the less likely they are to abandon their homeland. Weekly meetings and larger monthly events are helping these young people to grow in their faith, and every young person joining the groups is given a copy of the Holy Scriptures by the priests in charge.
We have promised 37,500 dollars to cover the cost of an additional 5,000 Bibles.