The annual Suryoyo Youth Global Gathering (SYGG) was held in Lebanon this year from August 2-7. The theme for this year’s gathering was Isaiah 6:8, “Here am I, Send me.” Our diocese was blessed to have 11 participants from New Jersey, Florida, Chicago and Indiana in attendance.
Some highlights from this year’s SYGG included workshops on leadership, spiritual lectures, a question and answer session with His Holiness, an evening of meditation and confession, and day trips to some of the most famous and beautiful monasteries in Lebanon. Our youth felt inspired to see Syriac youth and clergy from around the world interacting together. Our participants left this year excited and looking forward to next year’s event.
Shortly after the conclusion of SYGG, Christa Darakjy, Alexa Darakjy, Jeff Malki and Stephanie Ishak, accompanied by Abouna Andrew Bahhi, traveled to Zahle, Lebanon. There they visited Syriac refugees from Syria and Iraq who were gathered at two of our churches, Virgin Mary and St. George. Our youth were able to spend quality time with these families, listening to their stories of conflict, persecution and the hardships they endured in their home countries before fleeing to Lebanon. Through the generous donations collected from our Archdiocesan parishes from all over the Eastern United States, our youth were able to assist 94 families with the financial support to supply basic needs such as food, water and electricity for at least one month. The funds were directly distributed to our displaced Syriac brothers and sisters by our youth. We thank all those who contributed to this worthy cause, and encourage future participation, both in person and financially, as we hope to be able to aid our brothers and sisters throughout the world on an annual basis.