In recent days the commander of the West Sector of UNIFIL Lebanon, Brigadier General Massimiliano Stecca, received the keys of the Convent of Sant'Antonio in Tiro from the hands of Father Tony Choucry, superior of the Franciscan community and episcopal vicar for southern Lebanon of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite.
The event took place on the sidelines of the religious celebration in honor of San Giorgio, patron patron of the Cavalry and of San Marco, patron patron of the Lagunari.
Father Tony stated in handing over the keys ... this key is meant to be the tangible sign of a friendship that has bound and will bind the Franciscan Order of the Custody of the Holy Land to the "Pozzuolo del Friuli" cavalry brigade.
The Franciscan order arrived in Beirut in Lebanon in the mid-1200s and established a convent there, celebrating functions among local Christians in the church dedicated to St. Savior at the time, famous at the time for the miracle of the bleeding crucifix.
The Franciscan friars have four convents in Lebanon (Beirut, Harissa, Tripoli and Tire), and still today, they continue to care for the poorest and most needy, with particular attention to the young, the elderly and the sick. The convent of Tire was built in 1334 and has been home to the Franciscan friars since 1838.
The Italian mission in Lebanon is currently led by the "Pozzuolo del Friuli" cavalry brigade, in its sixth term in the "Land of the Cedars" with the colors of the United Nations, and is responsible for West Sector of UNIFIL in which 3800 UN peacekeepers operate from 16 of the 46 contributing countries to the UN mission and of which about 1.000 Italian soldiers are part of.
The Italian Blue Helmets operate in Lebanon with impartiality and transparency, close to the Blue Line (blue line), demarcation line with Israel, to ensure stability in the area for over 15 years, monitoring the cessation of hostilities, assisting and supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and providing support to the local population.