Philippine bishop mourns victims in Beirut blast

Philippine bishop mourns victims in Beirut blast

By CBCP News

August 5, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A Philippine Catholic bishop voiced his sorrow for the loss of life after a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut that killed 78 people, including two Filipinos.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, vice-chairman of the CBCP Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, offered his prayers for the victims, including nearly 4,000 people injured.

“It’s very sad, tragic news. Our hearts are with them, one with Lebanon in spirits and prayers,” Santos said.

“We offer our Holy Masses as we inform our Filipino chaplains for their strength, recovery and continued faith in God,” he said.

Lebanese authorities have not yet determined the cause of the explosions, but investigators believe they may have started with a fire in a warehouse that stored explosive materials.

State-run Philippine News Agency reported that eight Filipinos were also hurt during the blast that caused widespread fire and damage throughout the city on Tuesday.

“We intercede to God’s power of healing and remedy to those who are injured,” Santos said.

“May those left behind find comfort with God. And all of us would be united to help and assist in this time of urgent and special need,” he added.

There are about 33,000 Filipinos in Lebanon, 75 percent of whom are in the greater Beirut area.

A Lebanese Catholic priest has asked believers around the world to pray for the people of his country.

“We ask your nation to carry Lebanon in its hearts at this difficult stage and we place great trust in you and in your prayers, and that the Lord will protect Lebanon from evil through your prayers,” Fr. Miled el-Skayyem of the Chapel of St. John Paul II in Keserwan, Lebanon, said in a statement to EWTN News Aug. 4.

“We are currently going through a difficult phase in Lebanon, as you can see on TV and on the news,” the priest added.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has declared that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning.

The country is almost evenly divided between Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, and Christians, most of whom are Maronite Catholics. Lebanon has a small Jewish population, as well as Druze and other religious communities. WITH REPORTS FROM CNA