The Pope's final Mass in Beirut
Pope Benedict’s visit to Lebanon has given “hope” and “courage” to Christians not only in the land of the cedars but also across the Middle East, many people said at Beirut City Centre Waterfront where he celebrated mass on his last day here, reports Vatican Insider.
Some 350,000 Christians, not only from Lebanon but also from Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, cheered and waved Vatican and Lebanese flags when he arrived in his pope-mobile and drove among them before the mass.
Security was extremely tight because of the war in Syria and last week’s protests in the city of Tripoli (northern Lebanon), against the American film, The Innocent Muslims, that so upset the Islamic world. A warship stood on guard off-shore, helicopters flew overhead, the military manned road blocks, and soldiers with machine guns moved among the crowd, with undercover police.
In spite of all this and the blazing hot sun, the atmosphere was colourful and festive; people were overjoyed the Pope was here and hailed his visit as one of the utmost importance.
“It’s a very important visit for the Lebanon and for the Christians of the Middle East at this time because we have so many problems” said Jean Aoun, a director in the country’s LBC TV. He was at mass with his wife Rita, and their children: Jad,12 and Nour, 8.
He considered “the visit is also very important for us Christians in the Lebanon, because we have Hezbollah”. And while Hezbollah’s leaders publicly welcomed the Pope, he believes “not all of its people on the street feel the same way.
FULL STORY Pope's visit gives courage to Christians in Middle East (Vatican Insider)