If you follow Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York on social media, you’ve probably noticed that he’s been doing some traveling lately.

After a stop in Rome, Dolan made his way to Beirut, Lebanon, this past week to spend time with Christian and Muslim refugees there to learn about their lives and assure them of the Church’s prayers and support. Lebanon, a small neighboring country of Syria, has been struggling with an overwhelming refugee crisis for several years, as millions have fled their homes in Syria, escaping violence and persecution.

“We feel at home here in Lebanon, a country that has been so hospitable to people from all over the world, particularly today, to the refugees that come here with nothing from Syria,” Dolan said in his first video update from the trip.

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“And that’s why we come, from the Catholic Near East Welfare Association,” he said, “to visit them and encourage them and be of assistance.”

 

Dolan was accompanied by Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, and the group represented the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) during their trip.

According to their website, CNEWA is a papal agency that works for humanitarian and pastoral support, through and with the Eastern Catholic churches, in identifying needs and implementing solutions.

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Lebanon, a country approximately two-thirds the size of Connecticut with a native population of just 4 million, has accepted more than 1 million Syrian refugees in the past few years, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

During the trip, Dolan and the bishops visited several ministries of the Church in Lebanon to the refugees there, including a clinic for women and children and a social center, which provides food and education among other assistance to refugee families, women and children.

“Boy, never underestimate the wonderful zeal, love and charity of our religious women,” Dolan said.

The bishops were also able to visit a local Maronite Catholic seminary in Lebanon, which has 100 young men “who are just filled with life and enthusiasm and faith and an eagerness for the priesthood,” Dolan said.

On Tuesday, Dolan and the bishops were able to visit the Melkite Catholic Cathedral and a Catholic school for refugees as well as a soup kitchen and a refugee camp.

They’re “longing to be back home, but happy for what they’ve got,” Dolan said. “Once again I leave so grateful to God for what the Church does in the name of Jesus.”

Dolan and the bishops wrapped up their trip in Lebanon on Wednesday. To see all of Dolan’s video blogs from the trip, visit his Twitter @CardinalDolan or his blog: http://cardinaldolan.org/index.php/category/blog/