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Parishes Educators Dioceses


Week 4: March 15-21


Loving God, help us reach out to our neighbors in need.


Five-year-old Tanious Issa and his parents are three of the 2 million people that fled Syria due to the civil war. They now live in Lebanon. Tanious’ father cannot find work to support his family. Photo by Sam Tarling for CRS 

Learn more about the crisis in Syria

Catholic social teaching focus:

Option for the Poor

Jesus tells us to care for those who are most in need in the world. He reminds us of our Christian duty to give a voice to those who are voiceless and to help those who can’t help themselves.

Tanious’ story

Before civil war broke out, 5-year-old Tanious Issa and his parents lived a good life in Syria. But in 2011, the family’s house burned down and they lost everything. Like so many of their neighbors, they made the difficult choice to leave all they had ever known and move to Lebanon.

Tanious loves living in Lebanon. All he remembers about Syria is the sound of constant gunfire. But refugee life is tough. Tanious’ father can’t find a job, and the family struggles to pay for food and rent.

Catholic Relief Services is working hard to help children like Tanious enjoy childhood. That means we support schools where they can learn and play—and where there are counselors who help them work through their trauma. Most important, refugee children find friends with whom to grow and share.

This is a difficult time for the Issa family—and many others like them. That’s why we continue providing food vouchers to help meet the family’s immediate needs. Tanious and his family are grateful for the food, but are still praying for lasting peace.

Facts to consider

  • The civil war in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people since the violence began in March 2011.
  • Nearly 3 million Syrians have fled their country since the civil war began. Half of these refugees are children.
  • It is estimated that 4.5 million Syrians have fled their homes and are displaced within Syria.
  • An estimated 1 million Syrian refugees are currently living in Lebanon.
  • In coordination with Church partners, CRS is providing lifesaving assistance to 150,000 Syrian refugees across the Middle East.

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