“My brother”: the last two words spoken by Fr Frans Van der Lugt SJ, spoken to his killer who shot him twice at point-blank range. The first anniversary of the shooting of the Dutch Jesuit (7 April), who devoted fifty years of his life to the people of Syria, has been marked by the Irish Jesuit Missions Office and SwanSong Films. Together they have created a moving video to commemorate this courageous and generous Jesuit.
He was a man of peace, a bridge builder between Christian and Muslim communities. He refused to leave the besieged city of Homs, saying “A shepherd doesn’t leave his sheep”. In the short video his story is related by his good friend and colleague Fr Louis Taoutel SJ, and the film makers have used images and video clips kindly shared by Fr Louis. Click here to watch the video.
The Syrian War is now going into its fifth violent year . The Jesuit Refugee Service has been giving assistance to people in Syria and to refugees in neighbouring Lebanon. JRS Ireland has also been campaigning here at home on behalf of Syrian refugees, urging our government to allow more Syrian people fleeing the war to settle here.
According to David Moriarty, Policy and Advocacy Officer with JRS Ireland, “JRS is on the ground delivering emergency relief in Homs, Aleppo and Damascus, but more than 12 million vulnerable Syrians are still desperately in need of life-saving assistance. As the conflict rages on and enters its fifth year, the danger is that it will become yet another forgotten crisis. Ireland and other European nations must now dramatically enhance their resettlement commitments or risk failing the victims of the worst refugee crisis in nearly 20 years.”