Renowned humanitarian Fr Khalil Jaar thanks the people of Gozo for their hospitality on his recent visit and warns them to safeguard their Christian heritage
Fr Kahlil Jarr expressed his heartfelt thanks for the warm welcome he received from the people of Gozo, who took him to their hearts. He was full of praise for the tranquil island: “I m so happy to be here. You are living in a paradise!”
Fr Jaar was invited to the Maltese islands by ACN Malta, the local office of Aid to the Church in Need. He was the key speaker at the Malta launch of Persecuted and Forgotten?, ACN Malta’s latest Report on the increased persecution of Christians throughout the world and especially in the Middle East.
During his visit to Gozo, Fr Jaar met with HE Mgr Joe Vella Gauci, ambassador to UNESCO. They discussed how UNESCO could help Fr Jarr with his humanitarian work, caring for 400 displaced families from Iraq and Syria. Fr Gerald Buhagar took Fr Jaar on a personal tour of Ta’ Pinu basilica and presented him with a special gift, a stole of the Year of Mercy. Later he was interviewed by Frangesco Pio Attard.
Having expressed a wish to meet and get to know the people of Gozo, Fr Jaar was invited to Xagħra parish, where he celebrated mass in English together with archpriest Mgr Carmeo Refalo. During mass he gave a moving account of his experiences helping Christians who had to leave everything behind when they fled from Islamic State. When he met parishioners after mass, many pledged their support and offered generous donations to help him carry out his humanitarian work.
Speaking about his experiences in the Maltese islands, Fr Jaar said he felt safe and at peace here compared to the situation in Jordan “with tanks on the street and soldiers everywhere”. He warned that we should not take peace for granted. We must appreciate our freedom to go wherever we liked, without being searched or stopped at checkpoints, be vigilant and take care to safeguard our freedom and way of life. “The best way to protect yourselves from succumbing to Islamic State and other terrorists is to defend and strengthen your Christian religion, values and way of life” he added.
FR Jaar is now back in his parish in Amman, Jordan. Those who wish to assist him with his work can send cheques made out to “ACN Malta” or cash donations to ACN’s offices – 39b Mdina Road, Attard ATD 9038. Copies of the Persecuted and Forgotten? Report can be ordered from firstname.lastname@example.org