Saint John the Merciful was renowned for his extraordinary love of the poor. Wherever he saw need, he did all he could to help. By the time he was finally appointed as Patriarch of Alexandria, he was already feeding 7,900 poor people daily. He died around the year 619, and is revered as a saint both by Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
Now an aid project has been named after him, run by the Melkite Catholic Church in the Lebanese city of Zahleh, not far from the Syrian border. The project aims to imitate his example. Since December 2015, the emergency feeding center, the Table of Saint John the Merciful, has been a place of refuge for all who cannot afford a hot meal each day. Many refugees from Syria, and also needy Lebanese, street children and children who are not fed properly at home, come to the center. Every day approximately 600 people are given a free hot meal.
The center also cares for some 150 elderly frail or handicapped people who cannot leave their homes. Helpers from the center bring them meals at home – and in doing so they not only feed their bodies but also provide solace for their souls, since these often lonely and isolated people can experience their loving care and smiling faces. In order to emphasize the spiritual dimension of the program, every meal begins with a prayer and a hymn.
ACN has committed to supporting this project with $237,800 for the next six months.
Will you join in feeding refugees and the needy in Lebanon?
As one of the helpers testified, “Through this program we all feel the love of Jesus the Redeemer. It is a sign of His love for us all, a love that heals every wound.”
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.