Israel and Middle East

Dutch Missionary Priest in Syria Shot Dead: Stayed With Christians Unable to Evacuate Homs

ZENIT UPDATE HERE 4/8/14      ROME REPORTS VIDEO HERE

ROME, April 07, 2014 (Zenit.org) – A priest helping Christians find shelter in Syria’s Old City of Homs has been murdered. Dutch Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt was shot twice in the head this morning, April 7, by an unknown sniper who killed him while he tended his small garden.

Speaking from Syria, fellow Jesuit Father Ziad Hillal told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “Father Frans was apparently killed execution-style with shots to the head. We have received a phone report from a Christian who was with him in the Old City.”

The 75-year-old Van der Lugt, who had worked in Syria since 1967, had been looking after 89 Christians trapped in the Old City who had sought shelter in an old monastery.

The number fell to around 20-25 in February 2014 after a three-day truce between warring sides allowed people to leave the Old City, but Fr. Hillal reported that the Dutch priest had remained to take care of those who could not leave.

Fr. Hillal accompanied ACN officials to speak to EU politicians about the situation in Homs. The priest explained why some Christians had remained behind in the Old City. He said: “The UN representatives were urgently required to leave Homs and go to another city, so we had to stop abruptly before finishing the evacuations. Father Frans and the remaining 20-25 Christians in the city did not manage to leave in time.”

Fr. Hillal spoke with Father van der Lugt, via Skype, from Brussels, and discussed, among other things, the possibility of a modest celebration of the Dutch priest’s birthday. He was due to turn 76 on April 10.

Fr Hillal said: “For me, [Fr van der Lugt] represents Christ in the world who is willing to lay down his life for his friends, who always gives us hope. He always asks how I am and does not talk much about himself.” He added: “He was a ray of joy and hope to all those trapped in the Old City of Homs, waiting for yet another UN permission to evacuate.

“God have mercy on us, who could not save him from sniper fire.”

Fr. Hillal also said that at present it is not possible to reach the Old City to recover Fr van der Lugt’s corpse.

Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries.www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)

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Our group praying in the Upper Room on Mount Zion in Jerusalem

This is quite incredible since it has not been done since Pope John Paul II received permission from Israel to celebrate Mass there on his visit to the Holy Land. Pope Francis will do the “not allowed”–he will celebrate Mass in the Upper Room.

Seems odd, eh, that the place where the first Eucharist was celebrated by Jesus is not open for Catholics to worship. It is a “secular” building like a museum where anyone can walk through, sing, make noise, whatever. But the one thing we cannot do is celebrate Mass.

Pope’s Detailed Holy Land Schedule

Three, maybe four, sacraments were instituted in this room: ordination, Eucharist, Reconciliation and we can also suggest Confirmation since the Holy Spirit descended in fire upon 120 in this room on the day of Pentecost. 

Now, I have been informed the Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in the Upper Room. I hope he can convince Israel to give it back to the Catholic Church.

(See Zenit Report)

Pray!

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Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation.

These pictures are over a hundred years old from Nazareth. Not much changed between then and the first century.

When you look at these old pictures and hundreds more I have in a book I purchased in Nazareth (written in Arabic), you can imagine Mary as she walked the dusty streets of Nazareth.

Who is this father, mother and child? Can you “see” Mary at the well of Nazareth where all the women came to collect water? I’ve included modern pictures of the Church of Annunciation built over the cave-house where Gabriel made the announcement to Mary and the altar inside the cave which reads, “The Word Became Flesh HERE!”.

Beautiful Tissott painting of Mary of Nazareth

 

Our Lady of Nazareth

Words on the altar: "The Word Became Flesh HERE"

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Our Pilgrimages Mentioned on FoxNews.com

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Are You SURE Syria Used Gas on its Own People? – linkfixed

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Against Bombing Syria

September 7, 2013

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Obama Backs Down, Defers to Congress; All Quiet Here in Israel

August 31, 2013

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Netanyahu urges Israelis to carry on with daily lives, despite events in Syria

August 31, 2013

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Why Can’t Catholics Celebrate Mass where the First Mass was Celebrated – in the Upper Room?

July 18, 2013

Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin dismisses reports that Israel is planning to hand over control of the Tomb of King David to the Vatican. By Shimon Cohen, First Publish: 7/18/2013, 5:15 AM  See Steve Ray’s comments at the end of the article Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) on Wednesday dismissed recent reports that Israel is planning [...]

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