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Christmas in Syria, hope is reborn

Christmas greetings and New Year’s wishes from the children of the Latin parish of St. Francis in Aleppo: a more peaceful Christmas full of activities, despite the hardships.

“This Christmas, peace is in the air, and we are happy and pray that all wars in the world may end. And that children may have peace.”

“We wish you a Christmas full of joy, love and health!”

“After years of war, we can now celebrate Christmas with peace. Thank God.”

“For Christmas, we wish so much love and peace to your homes, families and countries. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

This 2017 Christmas in Aleppo, Syria, is different than most. After six years of conflict that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and over 4.5 million refugees, a more peaceful atmosphere seems to be setting in.
The supply of electricity and the availability of water have increased and, although there are still numerous hardships--from unemployment, to fundamentalism, to corruption--as Fr. Ibrahim Al-Sabagh, the pastor of the Latin church, pointed out in his Christmas letter, now people are taking small but sure steps [toward a better future.]

A few days before Christmas, a group restored the roof of the Church of St. Francis, which had been damaged by a missile, and they installed a new cross on the dome.

After-school and psychological, academic and spiritual counseling programs are underway for over 150 children. And yet, the lighting of the tree and the celebration of Christmas with hundreds of kids are small signs that prove that reconstruction is possible.

Fr. IBRAHIM ALSABAGH, ofm
Latin Pastor of Aleppo
“We are living a little better than when we were under missiles, thanks to your prayers and to all the donations you have made for us and our families. The city is still destroyed and paralyzed from an economic standpoint. Despite all of this, we have a lot of joy in our hearts. Therefore we hope you that you will have the same joy in your hearts and that peace be lasting here in Aleppo, but also in your hearts, in your families and in your countries. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

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