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Current Issue
June, 2018
Volume 44, Number 2
  
27 June 2017
Greg Kandra




Christian Scout volunteers turned out on 18 June to paint parts of Aleppo, Syria.
(photo: Custodia.org)


This story appeared today on the website for the Franciscans in the Holy Land:

Never have Aleppines found the markings on their sidewalks more beautiful. The Franciscan parish in the large city in Northern Syria decided to restore the city’s colors.

Aleppines could not believe it when on Sunday, 18 June, they saw scout brigades repainting their sidewalks for the first time. A little black and white paint was enough to give color to the neighborhood around the parish of St. Francis of Aleppo. A municipal sign indicated to drivers whether they were allowed to park their cars or not. It is the most trivial of things and yet “It is beautiful,” said one passer-by.

“Aleppo more beautiful” is an initiative carried out by the local friars of the Custody with the support of the governor, the mayor and the whole municipality. The program was inaugurated on Sunday, 18 June. In front of the parish church, Father Ibrahim, the pastor, was surrounded by government officials, brushes in hand, to paint the edges of the sidewalks.

Volunteers were happy to be covered with paint — and to be covering the streets, too.
(photo: Custodia.org)

After years of war that literally made the city’s colors fade, making “Aleppo more beautiful” is a concern and a challenge. For the people in charge of the initiative: “It allows us to unite as a single nation, a single family, whatever our religion or convictions... We also thought of this initiative right away as an opportunity to make reparations, to restore this beautiful mosaic — our society, which has been torn apart... So, we dove in with a lot of interest, love and commitment; [with] love for our martyred city and [with] the desire to promote reconciliation in our wounded, torn society. We are convinced that good is contagious. We do good and spread it, radiate it. War, hatred, egoism, the reign of death will be replaced by peace, charity, solidarity, the common good and the extension of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The promoters of the initiative invited all of the churches to join them and many groups such as the Christian Scouts, various religious groups and any of the inhabitants of the city who wanted to help. The Latin parish took charge of the financial aspect by buying all of the necessary materials.

A friar supervises the young Allepine artists. (photo: Custodia.org)

In the end, more than 200 people, armed with paintbrushes, buckets and paint, showed great enthusiasm and zeal and set out to conquer the city by embellishing it.

Read more and see more pictures at the link.