Visit of the “Custos of the Holy Land” for the Future of Christians in Tripoli

With a Solemn Mass celebrated on Sunday 21st October, the Custos of the Holy Land, Most. Rev. Fr. Francesco Patton OFM, concluded the proceedings of the Formation Program “The Future of Christians in Tripoli: Challenges and Prospects for the New Generation,” organized by the St. Francis Convent of Tripoli-El Mina, with the support of the International Secretariat of the Pontifical Missionary Union, and in partnership with the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon.

The three-week Formation Program started on Saturday, October 6, and took place in conjunction with the 800th anniversary of the Franciscan presence in the Middle East, and the 92nd World Missionary Day. The initiative aimed to offer a significant contribution to the spiritual and cultural formation of young Christians in Tripoli and in the broader region, where they are called to play an active and meaningful role for the promotion of peace, reconciliation, and development.

To this end, the Formation Program has brought together an ecumenical group of over 30 youths, both lay and religious, belonging to the Maronite, Greek-Catholic, and Orthodox communities. The participants were selected through local Churches, academic institutions, and organizations such as the Apostolic Lay Council of Lebanon and Caritas Lebanon. The teaching staff in charge of the educational activities featured scholars and experts, both lay and religious, from prominent universities and centers for study and research.

The topics addressed during the proceedings concerned the spiritual, cultural, social, and historical dimension of the Christian faith in the Middle East; interreligious dialogue in conflicts resolution; the role of Christians in the civil society and in politics. In addition, the young participants formed working groups with the task to elaborate project proposals on “How to Promote Tripoli as a City of Peace, Dialogue, Culture, and Development.”

The projects will be implemented in 2019, alongside new formation, dialogue, and cooperation activities. The St. Francis Convent is directed by Rev. P. Quirico Calella OFM. The Formation Program was coordinated by Mr. Emiliano Stornelli, Chairman of the Religion & Security Council.