Pope blesses religious icon for Syria with ACN reps

Pope blesses religious icon for Syria with ACN reps
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Pope Francis blesses an icon of Our Lady of Sorrows, Consoler of Syrians, during an audience Sept. 15 at the Vatican with representatives of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). VATICAN MEDIA

By CBCP News

September 16, 2019

VATICAN— A small delegation of representatives from the papal charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), stood witness to Pope Francis’ blessing on Sunday of the icon of the Our Lady of Sorrows, Consoler of Syrians.

The icon was made in August by Fr. Spiridon Kabbash, a Greek Orthodox priest from Homs in Syria.

Present in this initiative is the organization’s National Director for the Philippines, Jonathan Luciano.

Our Lady of Sorrows, Consoler of Syrians was designated to bring a dawn of hope, peace, and consolation to all Christians of the world. The image shows the beloved Virgin Mary, Mother of God, seated on a throne, with the Lord Jesus Christ on her lap.

Holding an orb, the icon depicts that Jesus entrusts the care of the world to his Mother, similar to what he did with all humankind under the cross. Also, a visible detail is war-stricken Syria, heavily destroyed and wounded with all the unheard and unknown battles plaguing its grounds.

According to Fr. Kabbash, the icon is a message of hope. “We will send it to many places in the world because they need consolation from God. The war is too heavy for the people,” he said.

ACN Philippines Director Luciano said he was “deeply moved” by the message of the icon.

“It strengthened in me the challenge to rise to the mission to help the suffering Church, especially our persecuted brothers and sisters,” he said.

The icon will be traveling to all the dioceses of Syria and the whole of the Middle East to spread the message of peace and consolation to all war victims.

The initiative is part of the “Console My People” campaign, an ACN initiative for Syrians.

Last August, 6,000 rosaries were also blessed by the pope for the relatives of the victims.

Luciano also stressed the “greater need to be sensitive and aware of the plight of our suffering brothers and sisters, and the icon of the sorrowful mother, who, in her tears, consoles her children”.

“I also asked the Pope to pray for the Philippines, especially the persecuted and the oppressed. He agreed, and Pope Francis requests that we pray for him as well,” he said. CBCPNEWS