The Franciscan March, entitled “Impact” took place in Lebanon from Thursday 31 August to Sunday 3 September: the impact is that of young people on the Church and that of the Church on young people. For four days, 65 youngsters “left everything” to start a dialogue with the Lord. The days were marked by walking and praying, by moments of reflection, fraternal sharing and the community life with singing, dancing and games. “We are pleased to have been able to organize the March despite everything that the young Lebanese are going through: economic issues, problems of belonging and of fear for their future,” said fra Jihad Krayem, of the Custody of the Holy Land and in charge of the March.
The Lebanese March lasts for four days rather than the classic week, because the youngsters cannot take many days of holiday from their work. The March went through the famous Beqaa Valley in the region of Baalbek. Inata, Barqa, the Marian sanctuary of Beshwat, in the village of Bechouat, Deir Al-Ahmar, Buadi and Chlifa. Here the Maronite archbishop, Mons. Hanna Rahma celebrated Mass with the youngsters and in the evening there was the adoration of the Eucharist. On the last day the youngsters took part in the Sunday Mass at the hospital run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross of Lebanon.
Fra Jihad tells of a very strong experience: “We send the youngsters two by two to some villages to have the experience of asking for charity. They knock on people’s doors and ask if it is possible to eat together with the family. When they go, they set off full of anguish, they do not know what to do… but what a surprise to see them come back overfilled with joy! And each of them described what they lived through, how they were received, what they ate…. This is really wonderful!”
The impact of the March
Mia took part in the March for the second time: When all you think about is the weight of your backpack or your feet hurting, or how difficult the March is, we can look back and see the road that we covered, and the difficulties we have already overcome, thanks to the strength that the Lord gives us. The March helps us understand that not only is the Lord close to us, but also to our community. We are not alone on our path.”