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Caritas Jordan volunteers took Syriana and Iraqi refugees to meet with Pope Francis at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan. Credit: Caritas Jordan

Caritas Jordan volunteers took Syriana and Iraqi refugees to meet with Pope Francis at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan. Credit: Caritas Jordan

Pope Francis thanked Caritas for its work helping refugees caught in conflict in the Middle East during his visit to the Holy Land, 25-27 May.

On the first leg of his trip in Jordan, the pope told dignitaries at the Royal Palace about the work of the national Caritas and how it was helping Syrian refugees driven from their homes.

“The Catholic Church, to the extent of its abilities, has sought to provide assistance to refugees and those in need, especially through Caritas Jordan,” he said.

Caritas Jordan has helped over 360,000 Syrians with humanitarian aid since the start of the conflict through its five centres and its network of Jordanian and Syrian volunteers.

Pope Francis greeting the faithful in Amman. Credit Caritas Jordan.

Pope Francis greeting the faithful in Amman. Credit Caritas Jordan.

Pope Francis’s final engagement in Jordan was a meeting with refugees and disabled people at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, close to the baptismal site of Jesus.

Caritas Jordan took forty Syrian and Iraqi refugees, both Muslim and Christian, to meet the pope. The refugees had the chance to share their experiences.

“We are very happy because he will see Christians in the Arab world, he will see us and see our suffering,” said Nazik Malko, a Syrian Orthodox Christian refugee from Maaloula who was at the event.

“We wish that peace will be restored in the whole world, and in Syria,” said Nazik.

Pope Francis told the crowd gathered at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, “My thoughts are also for the charity work performed by Church institutions like Caritas Jordan and others, who, by caring for the needy without distinction of religion, ethnicity or ideology, have shown the splendor of the charitable face of the merciful Jesus.

Young children waiting for the pope in Amman. Credit: Caritas Jordan

“May the Almighty and Benevolent God bless all of you and all your efforts to alleviate the suffering caused by war!”

Cariras Jordan’s Wael Suleiman said, “The pope’s message, in particular to Caritas all over the world, reflects the commitment and re-doubles our responsibility towards our mission and vision to continue helping the needy and vulnerable. We do this not only through mere actions but through the personal and individual lives of each and every member of this global Church organisation: this ‘One Human Family’.

“Pope Francis’s thank you messages encourage us to continue this mission in our beloved country. We will be here for any needy, vulnerable and poor, keeping our doors and hearts open to assist and love.”

Pope Francis continued his pilgrimage to the Holy Land on Sunday and Monday, urging Palestinian and Israeli leaders to lead their people towards peace. The pope invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to the Vatican to join him in praying to God for the gift of peace.

“I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer”, said the pope.