A Lebanese priest says Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Lebanon brought “peace and the hope of charity and love” to the region.
“Lebanese people dreamed of seeing the Pope,” Father Ramsine Hage Moussa told EWTN News in Vatican City Sept. 19.
Fr. Moussa is an official at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He provided Arabic-language commentary for Vatican Radio during the Pope’s Sept. 14-16 visit to Lebanon.
The priest’s hometown is Jounieh, located on the Mediterranean near the city of Bkerke.
He thought the Pope’s meeting with young people in Bkerke was the highlight of the visit. Young people from Iraq, Jordan and all Arab areas attended.
“Really, it was very touching and the Pope made very good speeches during the entire visit to Lebanon, but especially this night,” Fr. Moussa said. “He was talking to the youth and he spoke especially about the critical situation in Syria right now.”
The conflict in Syria between rebels and government forces has killed over 20,000 since it began in March 2011. Violence and other factors have forced at least 200,000 people from their homes.
“He told the Syrian young people that he was suffering just seeing what was happening in their country,” the priest said.
During the visit, Pope Benedict XVI released his apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente,” which means “On the Church in the Middle East.” The document voiced support for Catholics.
However, Fr. Moussa said the exhortation was a message for all people, not only the religious.
The Pope insisted on coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
“He said that Lebanon is a very good example to proclaim to the entire world that Muslims and Christians can live together and can make a peaceful culture in this world,” the priest explained.
He added that Christians and Muslims both welcomed the Pope. This was evidence that “we can all live together” and “put the politics away.”
“I especially hope there will be peace in the Middle East,” Fr. Moussa said. “Even the Pope said he was a pilgrim of peace. He brought a message of peace.”