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    Knights Send Aid in Aftermath of Beirut Explosion

    Stability in Lebanon seen as key to religious pluralism in Middle East

    8/25/2020
    Smoldering debris is seen in Beirut Aug. 5, 2020, following two massive explosions the day before near the port of the Lebanese capital, killing more than 100 people. (CNS photo/Mohamed Azakir, Reuters)

    The Knights of Columbus has sent $250,000 for disaster relief to Lebanon in the wake of the devastating Beirut explosion.

    “This is a great tragedy that merits the prayers and full attention of the world,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “The calamity in Lebanon is a threat to the vital Christian community there and threatens the existence of Christianity throughout the Middle East. This desperate situation must be addressed.”

    The Knights’ gift was conveyed through Bishop Gregory Mansour, who leads the Maronite Eparchy (diocese) of St. Maron of Brooklyn, NY. It will include: $125,000 for Caritas Lebanon; $50,000 to the St. Vincent de Paul Society; $50,000 for Telelumiere/Noursat Christian Television in the Middle East; and  $25,000 for Sesobel, which serves special needs children and their families.

    Bishop Mansour said the donations “mark the special charism of the Knights: to serve the poor, to lift up our special needs children, to communicate the saving message of Christ, and to remind the small and tireless Church now in Lebanon… that men of good will are near to them in their time of need.”

    The Knights’ gift follows a donation by Pope Francis of 250,000 euros ($295,488) in aid as an expression “of his fatherly closeness to people in serious difficulty,” a Vatican press release stated.

    At least 178 people were killed and 6,000 were injured in a blast near Beirut’s port on Aug. 4. The explosion caused extensive damage to the city and flattened buildings near the port. Some 300,000 people were left temporarily homeless.

    Since 2014, the Knights of Columbus has spent more than $25 million on behalf of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities targeted for elimination in the Middle East. The support has funded rebuilding – and saving – the town of Karamles, Iraq, after its liberation from ISIS; fed tens of thousands of displaced people; provided short-term and long-term housing for the displaced; and supported educational, medical and other programs for those targeted by ISIS.

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