OFWs in War-Torn Libya Hold Mass in Hospital
A Filipino priest based in Benghazi, Libya said due to the ongoing conflict between Islamists and government forces in the Muslim country, the Catholics there composed mostly of overseas Filipino workers have no other choice but to celebrate Holy Mass at the chapel of a hospital where they have taken refuge for over a month now.
Franciscan missionary Fr. Amado Baranquel said bombing takes place every now and then in the area, making it impossible and dangerous for Catholics to hold regular Eucharistic celebrations at the nearby Maria Immacolada Catholic Church.
Baranquel said the war should not be allowed to stop them from practicing their faith.
But given their situation, he said that “Simbang Gabi” and succeeding Masses have to be celebrated inside the Benghazi Children’s Hospital.
“We’re praying that the war will end soon. It has already caused us a lot of stress. We feel as though we are under house arrest here. We can’t move around freely,” he said.
Baranquel, who last came home in 2012, expressed hope he could return home to the Philippines next year in time for Pope Francis’ visit.
The Franciscan priest, who hails from Daraga, Albay, has been doing mission work in Libya since 1995.
“Please pray for us always,” the priest urged.