A day of prayer, singing and dancing with Christian children and Muslims from Aleppo.
“Love and joy have the final say, not death,” recalled the Franciscan parish priest, Fr. Ibrahim Alsabagh.
“We have come together to say ‘no’ to violence, weapons and terror and ‘yes’ to charity, peace and joy.” said Fr. Ibrahim, the Franciscan parish priest of Aleppo, on Thursday, October 6.
Hundreds of children gathered to pray for peace at the Terra Santa School, in the Eastern part of the Syrian city.
Underneath the visors of their caps, so many smiles could be seen, as white as the shirts they were wearing, on which the symbol of the day was printed: a rainbow-colored dove with an olive branch in its beak. That dove symbolizes the the end of the flood and the beginning of a new era of peace.
The event, entitled “Peace for the Children,” featured a succession of dances, songs and plays performed by children, both from Christian schools and Syrian Muslim associations.
The Jesuit priest, Fr. Ziad Hilal, first had the idea [for the event], but very quickly the Franciscans and many local associations also got involved.
Teachers were almost happier than the children… “They took a deep breath and breathed another type of air,” they commented.
The situation in Syria is far from encouraging. The bombings show no sign of ceasing, and homes, buildings and families continue to be destroyed.
Despite all of this, many are not giving in to despair.
“We want to challenge the weapons and we want to give our response as Christians,” said Fr. Ibrahim, “to state that death and violence do not have the final say. Peace and joy do.”
To learn more about the projects promoted by the Custody of the Holy Land in Syria and to make a contribution, please visit the Pro Terra Sancta website.