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ICC Note:

Although Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio was kidnapped by ISIS over four years ago, the monastic community which he helped found in Syria continues to remain devoted to their faith. The community was founded in the monastery of Deir Mar Musa, whose mother house has once again resumed their pastoral activity. The conflict in Syria has led to the disappearance of many Christians, most of whom were kidnapped by ISIS. The conflict has led many to seek out Christ and to find some sort of normalcy in their religious practice. Many are thankful that the conflict has led to a revival of faith.


12/14/2016 Syria (ICN)  –   There is still no news about the fate of Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio SJ, kidnapped at the end of July 2013 while he was in Raqqa. But the monks and nuns of the monastic community of Khalil Allah, which he founded in the restored Syrian monastery of Deir Mar Musa, have released a Christmas letter in which they speak about their feelings and their journey towards Christmas.

The letter also describes initiatives carried out in the last year by members of the Community. The ‘mother house’ of Deir Mar Musa has resumed their pastoral activity and once again begun receiving Christian and Muslim pilgrims.

“The valley of our monastery was dressed in a fascinating red gown, made from the poppy flowers scattered everywhere. With the arrival of spring we have experienced this year, for the first time after long years of war, an enormous joy at seeing the entrance of the road to the monastery full of movement, due to the presence of many Nebek families coming to visit us.

“Fridays were the days we received hundreds of people. What a joy to see Christian and Moslem families climbing up again together to receive the blessing of this sacred place!

“What comfort to receive the visits of the young Moslem men and women from Nebek who come to show ‘their’ monastery to their Christian friends and colleagues from other areas who do not know the monastery! How moving it was when some Moslem women approached the sisters to ask for prayers for their intention.”

The monks and nuns of Deir Mar Musa also recall the visits of many groups (young people, women, families, catechists, scouts….) from different parishes and also from the schools of the surrounding towns. And they express their joy at the enthusiasm of the parish priest of the Siro-Catholic church of Nebek, Father Saed Massouh, and for his frequent presence at the monastery, accompanied by various groups from the parish, especially of young people.

The letter says: “The rooms of the monastery of al-Hayek, cleaned of the dust from the war, have opened their doors to welcome visitors who have come to spend a little time of prayer and meditation, far from the noise of the city and from life’s worries, in order to return recharged with strength to confront the challenges of daily life.”

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