Loading
Slain Syrian priest remembered at Mass in Rome
By Estefania Aguirre and Kevin Jones
Israeli troops train in Golan Heights, Syria, on June 12, 2013. Credit: Uriel Sinai, Getty Images News.
Israeli troops train in Golan Heights, Syria, on June 12, 2013. Credit: Uriel Sinai, Getty Images News.

.- Father Francois Mourad, a monk killed last week in the ongoing violence in Syria, is being prayed for and remembered at a Mass in Rome on July 4.

The Mass, to be said by Bishop Matteo M. Zuppi, an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rome, will also intercede for peace in Syria. Bishop Zuppi will say the Mass on Thursday evening at the parish of Saints Fabian and Venancio.

After the Mass, Fr. Ibrahim Alsabagh, a Franciscan of the Custody of the Holy Land, will give a testimony.

Fr. Mourad was reportedly killed on June 23 at the Franciscan monastery of Saint Anthony of Padua in Ghassenieh, a village near Jisr Ash-Shughur in northern Syria.

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Franciscan custodian of the Holy Land, told Vatican Radio that “Syria has now become a battleground not only between Syrian forces, but also between Arab countries and the international community. And those paying the price are the poor, the young and the Christians.”

“Let us pray so that this absurd and shameful war ends soon and that the people of Syria can go back to living a normal life,” he told Fides news agency.

Fr. Mourad's death occurred roughly 70 miles from Aleppo, in a contested region. Jisr Ash-Shughur is located in Idlib province near the Turkish border, between Aleppo and Latakia.

Fr. Pizzaballa said the village had been attacked by Islamist rebels and the St. Anthony of Padua Monastery gave shelter to Fr. Mourad and to some Franciscan friars, four religious sisters and ten lay Christians.

According to Vatican Radio, Fr. Pizzaballa explained that when Fr. Maroud tried to defend the sisters and others from the rebels, he was shot and killed.

A few days later, a video was posted on YouTube, and shortly thereafter on Live Leak, showing three men being beheaded. Those posting the video claimed that one of them was Fr. Mourad.

The claim has since spread, having been picked up by various other media outlets later in the week. 

However, a reliable Vatican source told CNA July 2 that reports of the priest being killed by beheading are “false.”

“We can say that the sisters of his convent took his body, which was left inhumane so this is a delicate situation,” the source explained.

Another source, a Franciscan priest from the Holy Land who wished to remain unnamed for safety reasons, denied that the online video shows the murder of the priest.

He suggested that the confusion may be due to the fact that “the video was released around the same time as his death.”

Fr. Mourad was well known in the region, where he had retired several years ago to live the life of a hermit. He had finished his Franciscan novitiate for the Custody in Rome, but had left the order to live a contemplative life. He had become a Syrian citizen, the Custody of the Holy Land reports.

The 49-year-old priest had helped start construction on a monastery dedicated to St. Simeon the Stylite in Ghassanieh. After the monastery was bombed at the start of the Syrian civil war, he moved to the Franciscan monastery for his own safety and to minister to those who remained.

Archbishop Jacques B. Hindo, of the Syrian Catholic Archeparchy of Hassake-Nisibi, told Fides News Agency that he had been in contact with the priest before he was slain.

“Lately, Father Mourad sent me some messages that clearly showed how conscious he was of living in a dangerous situation, and (he) offered his life for peace in Syria and around the world,” the archbishop said.

Since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011, at least 93,000 have died and 1.5 million have become refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Jordan and Lebanon.

An additional 4.25 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war.

Tags: Syria Conflict


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: