July 10, 2016 – “We are again under bombs. We do not know what is about to happen. Even last night we could not sleep, and this morning an artillery shell also fell in the street of our cathedral, resulting in one death and three injuries. Also for this reason we have decided not to reopen the Caritas offices, which had been closed for a few days during the Muslim feast for the end of Ramadan”.
Bishop Antoine Audo SJ, at the head of the Chaldean Diocese of Aleppo, explains to Agenzia Fides the daily horror that continues to disrupt the martyred city worn away by five years of war.
The new upsurge of bombings and mortar attacks on neighborhoods in Aleppo must also be considered, according to the Chaldean Bishop, as a reaction to the operations with which the army took control of the so-called “road of the Castle” by cutting the connections between areas occupied by rebel militiamen – including those related to jihadist acronyms – and Turkey. “They launch a hail of bullets to show they are not happy, that they are dangerous and are still strong”, notes Mgr. Audo.
In addition to fear and the count of new victims, the Chaldean Bishop also keeps track of the persistent signs of a life of faith, in the presence of factors that he defines as “a mysterious and wonderful paradox”. On one side – says the Bishop – “we are all heartbroken by what is happening, on the other side there are many that in this state meet to celebrate the sacraments, pray, share a spirit of hope and mercy.
I have just been called by the participants in a spiritual retreat organized on the mountains by the Focolare members. There were two hundred people, with ten priests. From next Thursday we will meet in Tartus with 175 operators and Caritas volunteers from all over Syria, for a few days of formation and meetings. It is a mysterious and wonderful paradox: on one hand there is the desolation of war, and on the other there is the consolation of God”.