He said he wanted to send a message of thanks to the parish priest in Lebanon and to “commend him for standing with his people and being part of that and serving them with all the difficulties going through himself and to stay there and do his best for his people.”
Zaidan also urged “everybody here and wherever they are to first keep Lebanon in your mind. Keep our brothers and sisters in your mind, in your prayers, and whatever you could spare here could make a big difference in Lebanon,” he said.
Zaidan said that Christ is closest to the people who are suffering and needy.
“We need to know [that] anyone who’s in need, whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you’ve done it to me, Christ told us,” he said. Zaidan said that there are many inspiring stories about people who are in need, and who assist someone who is in a worse situation than they are.
“It’s amazing,” he said.
Zaidan said that the Maronites in Lebanon played a significant role in making Lebanon a great country. He said that Maronite Patriarch Elias Hoyaek de Helta, who served from 1898-1931, “was instrumental in making Lebanon great as in its own borders today.”
Zaidan said that it’s important for Lebanon to be a “beacon of hope” and a “haven” for Christians in the Middle East.
“Lebanon, as John Paull II said, is a message between the East and the West, between the Christians and the Muslim — and also among the Christians — between the Catholics and Orthodox, as well.
“It’s a unique mission from that perspective,” he said.
Zaidan said that many Lebanese migrated to the United States over the past 100 years.
“We always think about Lebanon as the mother church and the branches who are spread all over the world and are present in different parts of the world,” he said.
(Story continues below)
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“Hopefully, we could bear fruits and let the mother church enjoy some of those fruits as well,” Zaidan said.
Joseph Bukuras is a journalist at the Catholic News Agency. Joe has prior experience working in state and federal government, in non-profits, and Catholic education. He has contributed to an array of publications and his reporting has been cited by leading news sources, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Catholic University of America. He is based out of the Boston area.