The Jesuits of Flanders and the Netherlands have released an animated film on Fr Frans van der Lugt, the Dutch Jesuit who was murdered in Homs, Syria on 7 April, 2014. On the fifth anniversary of his death, the fictional voice of Fr Frans looks back over his life and death, making a powerful appeal to the whole world: that love might come first.
In the film, he has his say for a final time. He makes an urgent appeal to every human being to never give the last word to hatred, but to fight for love. “To my last gasp, I hoped that the hate, conflict and pain would stop”.
Fr Frans looks back on the abrupt end of his life. On the one hand he has hope, on the other there is his own death. “As if everything has stopped. And yet it keeps going. Yes, it keeps on going.” That is his firm conviction. For: “it is love that keeps on going. Nobody should be discouraged.”
Five years after the death of Fr Frans, Jesuits are living again in Homs. There are currently four Jesuits living in the house where Van der Lugt was murdered and where he is buried. Many people come to pray at his grave. Although the streets and buildings around the Jesuit community have been seriously damaged, the Jesuits organise homework classes and hundreds of young people and adults use the church. Under their leadership, a large group of ‘Foi et Lumière’ (Faith and Light), for young people with disabilities, flourishes in Homs.
Fr Frans was known to embrace Muslims, Christians and non-believers during his nearly fifty years in Syria, trying to help everyone and spread a message of hope. Click here for stories on him covered by the Irish Jesuits: the original story on his death» and another moving film to commemorate his death».