Affection and closeness to all the Lebanese people in this moment of great pain and suffering.
This is what the President of the Family International Monitor Vincenzo Paglia expresses in a letter addressed to the new Rector of the University La Sagesse in Beirut, Lara Karam Boustany, on the occasion of the day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon called by Pope Francis a month after the devastating explosion that cost the capital almost two hundred dead, six thousand injured, hundreds of thousands of displaced people and the port area completely incinerated.
The Family Institute of La Sagesse University is one of the partners of the Family International Monitor. It was born from the desire expressed by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation A New Hope for Lebanon, which was followed in May 1997 at the Extraordinary Synod for Lebanon, and its constitution was welcomed by the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the East and the Synod of the Maronite Church.
The Centre is located at the University of the Maronite Archdiocese of Beirut, has about one hundred students and offers various Master's and Diploma programmes in Marriage and Family Sciences, Family Mediation and Family Pastoral Care.
In April 2019 Monsignor Paglia visited the centre together with the Vice President of the Family Monitor, Pierangelo Sequeri, to speak at a conference promoted by the University.
"My love for this marvellous country," writes Mgr Paglia, "goes back a long way, to the years of my youth, when with my fellow student Béchara Boutros Raï, the current Maronite Patriarch, we exchanged thoughts and hopes. I still remember with great emotion my first visit to Lebanon, in November 1982, 40 days after the massacre of Sabra and Shatila; another dark moment in the history of this people, who never lost faith and hope, and always managed to stand up with great strength and vigour".
"As the Holy Father recalled at the last General Audience - concludes Paglia - Lebanon represents something more than a state: it is a space of coexistence and dialogue between different cultures and religious traditions, an example of pluralism, a precious heritage for the East and the West, and it must be defended and protected, and cannot be left alone".