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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I greet you all in the spirit of the fresh season of autumn, which I hope will regenerate our collective efforts to plan and fulfill our academic and community related annual programs.

Last week, I was describing to a friend in Lebanon Hurricane Henry’s impact. Even though it was not as severe as anticipated, I told him, thousands of families were left without power or affected by floods.

My friend’s reply was very existential, which I would like to share with you. He said, “It is true that we are not threatened either by hurricanes or tornadoes, yet because of human created hurricanes since last year’s explosion at Beirut’s port, we were deprived of electricity, now we are facing a fuel crisis, and soon we may be faced with the worst shortage of water ever…”

I felt so embarrassed and felt the abyss of anxiety created in the hearts of our Lebanese brethren. An Armenian proverb says, “The fire burns wherever it falls.” Through our own comparatively short experience, I felt in my skin the daily agonizing experience of the Lebanese people who, not only for a day or two, but for more than a year have been walking down the tunnel of despair.

That’s why once again I am most thankful to our parishioners and friends who consciously are reaching out to help overcome this indescribable crisis. As of today, I am glad to inform that we have raised a total of $27,055. Yet I expect that we will raise the bar and soon hit six-digit numbers.

May the Compassionate Lord keep us healthy and empower us to lighten the burden of our brothers and sisters who, as the Psalmist has described, are walking “through the valley of death” (Ps 23.4).