In the aftermath of the colossal double blast that ripped through Beirut Aug. 4, it was the country’s youth, rather than government officials, who took the initiative to clear the wreckage and serve suffering people in affected neighborhoods.
Armed with brooms and shovels and a strong resolve to come to the aid of the afflicted, thousands of youth from all over the country — Christian and Muslim alike — flooded the stricken areas.
Among them were teams of Maronite Catholic youth from parish and apostolic youth groups.
“These youth came on the night of the blast — nonstop, they gave their heart and their commitment, to be near the people there. They are the sign of hope for us in this catastrophe,” said Father Toufic Bou-Hadir, director of the Maronite Patriarchal Commission for Youth, which helped to coordinate the participation of the Maronite groups.
The horrific disaster has claimed nearly 200 victims and injured more than 6,500, with some 300,000 homeless.
Noting that St. John Paul II often said that the youth are “the heroes of hope,” Father Bou-Hadir remarked to the Register: “The youth of Lebanon made this a reality. They confirmed that the light of hope shines from this darkness, from everything that causes despair. Thanks be to God for our youth who work nonstop.”
“They were really there, to clean, to serve all the needs of the people” affected by the blast, Father Bou-Hadir added.
He noted that the Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai, had also set an example for the Maronite youth.
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