Lebanese Cardinal Sfeir Leads Peace Service in Washington (+background)
Cardinal Sfeir hopes to return to Lebanon soon says CNS, which also quoted a man in Sidon, Lebanon as having said that "all Catholic churches were opening their doors to people who needed refuge, but that church officials did not know how long they could hold out. He said churches were seeking relief supplies and food."
In English and in Arabic, shedding tears and sweat, Washington's Lebanese Catholics prayed yesterday for peace in their homeland, filling a new white church at noon on a sweltering workday.
Catholics are the largest Christian community in Lebanon, and the special Mass at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church was celebrated by Cardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir, considered one of the most influential leaders of the country's Christians. Nasrallah was in the United States this month when the violence began and spent his last day -- yesterday -- speaking about the holy nature of peacemaking.
"Are there no more peacemakers? I ask: Is war inevitable? The course of history seems to confirm this fearful thought," he told more than 200 people at Our Lady, which was dedicated in May. "As Christians, we believe that war is not inevitable; people choose war, and people can choose peace. . . . Blessed are the peacemakers."
Among those at the quickly planned Mass were Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who retired this summer. [More...]
Cardinal Sfeir has a fine reputation in Lebanon:
More articles concerning Cardinal Sfeir can be found here at CardinalRating.
"He has a great knowledge of Lebanese politics," said el Khazen [Christian member of Parliament and professor of political science at the American University in Beirut]. "For this reason, he was able to make such an important impact on Lebanese politics at a time when Lebanese politics was difficult to handle: in wartime Lebanon when he was elected patriarch and in postwar Lebanon when Lebanon was under Syrian control."
Cardinal Sfeir, 86, is known for his keen intellect, artful diplomacy, openness, prudence, tenacity and humility. He was instrumental in the 1989 Taif Agreement, which ended Lebanon's civil war and gave Muslims a greater role in the country's political system. He was known for his outspokenness against Syria's occupation of Lebanon and for working to unite the Lebanese.