Father Rodrigue Constantin is pastor of Holy Family in St. Paul, one of two Maronite Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis whose members have strong ties to Lebanon. He currently is in Lebanon visiting family and friends. He responded July 16 by e-mail to questions from The Catholic Spirit. Excerpts from the interview follow.
How would you describe the situation?
Bombs are being dropped on Beirut as I type these words. I came to visit and enjoy my family, friends and country. Instead, my family and I had to flee our home to an apartment some 20 miles outside Beirut that seems to offer some safety, at this time at least. My friends are trapped in their homes with their families, and my country is being destroyed before my eyes after years of post-war reconstruction. . . . I’m under a lot of stress and have not been sleeping much.
Since the onset of the attack, I have received several e-mails from parishioners and friends in Minnesota who have seen terrifying images on TV and are very concerned about the safety of their loved ones who live or are summering here in Lebanon. Some have traveled to Lebanon this year to get married, for the christening of a son or a niece, or just to soak in the joy of returning home. Instead, stress, fear and a shy hope are all they feel at the moment. [snip] Catholic Spirit