CWN - Syria’s leading Catholic prelate has voiced misgivings about refugee programs that are helping Christian families from Syria resettle in the West, saying that it is better if they remain in the Middle East.

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham, who doubles as president of the Syrian bishops’ conference, said that the flight of Syrian refugees threatens to aggravate the overall exodus of Christians from the Middle East. “The danger is that if they leave the Middle East, they will never go back,” he said.

The Melkite Patriarch said that he could readily sympathize with the Christians who choose to leave the region. “Of course, we cannot decide for ourselves what response our people should make,” he acknowledged, adding that “the suffering is great.”

However, Patriarch Gregory suggested that aid programs should concentrate on helping people to remain near their homes. “It is better to help the people within the country or the region, and not invite them to go outside,” he said. “There is more that can be done locally,” he said.

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Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The "principal characteristics" of the zealot according to knowledge are the following: "fervent love for God and neighbor, gentleness, religious tolerance, forbearance, graciousness of manner."