Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, will visit Catholics in Syria and Turkey from February 17 to 21, 2023.

The visit aims to show support to the people affected by the multiple devastating earthquakes that hit these countries recently. He will also meet with bishops, Caritas workers, and other aid agencies committed to helping the victims.

As Pope Francis continues to appeal for both prayers and concrete aid to the suffering people of Turkey and Syria, Gugerotti’s visit is a gesture of Pope Francis’ solidarity with the affected communities. Reuters reported that around 42,000 people have died, over 100,000 were injured, and approximately 2.4 million were displaced from their homes.

Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, will travel to Beirut, Aleppo, Damascus, and Istanbul to visit with local church leaders, Catholic charities, and victims of the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. During his visit, he will meet with local Catholic and Orthodox bishops, celebrate Mass in the Latin Catholic parish in Aleppo, and conduct a Divine Liturgy in the Greek-Melkite Cathedral. He will also meet with various Catholic charities, such as Aid to the Church in Need, Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Syria, Jesuit Refugee Service, and Associazione Pro Terra Sancta, to discuss their relief efforts and provide support. He will conclude his visit meeting with Catholic bishops and local leaders of Caritas in Turkey.

Yesterday, Pope Francis hand-wrote a brief message of encouragement to the new ambassador of Turkey to the Holy See:

“My thoughts and prayers go to the noble Turkish people at this time of such sorrow. Dear brothers and sisters, I am close to you and I pray for you. With fraternal affection, Franciscus.”

Pray for those who are suffering from the aftermath of the earthquakes!


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