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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Amid hardships, Syriac Catholic young people attest to their faith

Driven by a zeal and strong ties to the roots of their faith, 450 young people from all over the world gathered in Lebanon for the first Syriac Youth International Convention, open to people 18-35.

“Our main objective is to give the youth hope…because of what we have suffered, especially in Syria and Iraq,” Fr Jules Boutros, who heads the pastoral youth committee for the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, told Catholic News Service. He said more than 60 per cent of Syriac Catholics have emigrated from the Middle East in the last decade.

“They have lost everything or almost everything and have been diffused all over the world,” he said of the Syriac faithful. The convention gave the young adults, who now mostly live in the diaspora, a springboard to foster global solidarity and to keep them united with their Church.

Syriac Catholics from 15 countries attended the 17th to 22nd July event, which combined prayer, educational workshops and presentations related to Syriac history, as well as visits to Syriac monasteries and holy sites. Participants also met with Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan.

Picture: Young people from around the world pray on 21st July at St Ephrem monastery in Chbanieh, Lebanon. The young people were in Lebanon for a 17th to 22nd July gathering of Syriac Catholics. (CNS photo/courtesy Syriac Catholic patriarchate).