Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, arrived in Shama for a visit to the command of the Joint Task Force Lebanon Sector West, which operates under the United Nations mission in Lebanon.
Cardinal Rai, welcomed by the general of division Giuseppe Bertoncello, commander of the JTF-L, of the Italian contingent and by the military chaplain don Marco Minin, was informed on the assistance and support activities carried out in recent months in favor of the local population, in under the UN mandate.
The day continued with the celebration of Holy Mass in the Maria Decor Carmeli and San Giovanni XXIII Pope Church of the Italian base. During the homily, the cardinal highlighted the evocative occasion in which his visit to the lively military Christian community in Shama takes place, or rather the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian unity: "Christ offered only one sacrifice once and for all, but he continually places it at our disposal: he is our mediator, always alive to intercede on our behalf and he comes among us precisely to be our intercessor, to give us all the necessary graces so that our life too, with him, in him and for him, becomes a living offering, pleasing to God.
You Italian soldiers too, in Lebanon to keep the peace, with your spiritual sacrifice enrich the meaning of your mission. We are deeply grateful to you for your work: as ministers of peace and security you contribute effectively to the stability and prosperity of this holy land. You give us your sacrifice - continued the patriarch - for the common good, and what you do for the communities and families of the area is known, and you do it not simply to fulfill a duty, but for the more than ten-year friendship that now binds you to our population".
The Italian mission in Lebanon led by the "Aosta" brigade, in its third mandate in the Land of Cedars with the colors of the United Nations, is responsible for West Sector of UNIFIL, in which 3.800 Blue Helmets operate from 16 of the 48 contributing countries to the UN mission and which includes over 1.000 Italian soldiers.
The activities carried out in the operating theater are conducted under the coordination and according to the directives given by the operational command of interforce forces (COVI).
COVI is the staff organ of the Chief of Defense Staff, responsible for planning, coordinating and directing military operations, national and multinational joint exercises and related activities.