CWN - Bombing and artillery strikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo have forced the Catholic Church to suspend all activities except the administration of the sacraments, the city's Latin-rite apostolic vicar told the AsiaNews service.

Msgr. George Abou Khazen reported "heavy shelling throughout the day yesterday," and said that some blasts impacted on Church offices-- although fortunately there were no casualties in that case. He said that summer recreational and educational programs had been stopped, and "the church will only stay open so that the faithful can come and pray or attend services."

Msgr. Khazen said that the level of violence in Aleppo is "really frightening." The shelling, he said, is not really a matter of two armed forces striking at each other, "but only the bombing of defenseless civilians."

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Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Go and have pity on all, for through pity, one finds freedom of speech before God. 

Abba Pambo