During October, we look back on our lives to thank God for the many blessings we have received. This past year, one of our parish blessings has been the arrival, on July 20, of the Syrian refugee family we are sponsoring, Ziad and Eman Alrayes, with their children Abeer, Ziad, Mariam and Yousef.
Since then we have realized more and more that the relationship has been a mutual gift. As always: In blessing, we are blessed.
On September 17, this Muslim family surprised us by coming to the 11 o’clock Mass, bearing gifts for the parish. The plaque of the Last Supper has been placed in front of the lectern and the statue of Jesus is on Mary’s side-altar in the alcove at the left of the tabernacle. These gifts will remind us to continue to pray for the family. At the beginning of Mass, the family was introduced and Ziad spoke. Below you will find excerpts from his inspiring address:
We thank you for everything you have done for us. We love through God and God asks that we love. Love doesn’t differentiate between religions. My family will never forget what you have done for us and all the trouble, worries and fatigue you went through for us.
A lot of people have money and power but they don’t have love or anyone who loves them. However, our relationship with you is not only a committee relationship; it is a relationship of brotherhood and love. Your love and care entered our hearts from the first day we met you. You are our family in this world. Our children are used to you now. You are their aunt, their uncle, their grandmother and grandfather, their friend.
Please don’t abandon them as this will affect their emotions a lot. It will be another shock added to the shock when they had to leave family and friends behind in Syria.
Be certain they will never forget you, and the road you walk with them will be the road they will walk in humanity ,peace and goodwill. They will give back to whoever needs it. Thank you. Thank you.
And we say thank you, too, to Ziad, Eman, Abeer, Ziad, Mariam, and Yousef! We are truly grateful for their love, their courage, their openness to all people, and the value they place on family and hospitality.