Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez

Archbishop Nelson J. Perez issued the following statement Aug. 7 on the tragic explosion Aug. 4 in Beirut, Lebanon, which has left more than 137 people dead and some 300,000 homeless. Read more about the international relief efforts here, make a donation through Catholic Relief Services and learn of the reaction of faithful in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, here.


People of good will from around the world have been deeply saddened by the heart wrenching images of utter devastation emanating from Beirut. The explosion that took place on Tuesday in the city’s bustling port resulted in unimaginable loss of life and destruction of property.

This tragedy struck a Lebanese people already suffering tremendously from economic hardship, civil unrest, and the snares of the COVID-19 pandemic. In these dire times for the people of Lebanon, I echo our Holy Father’s sentiments expressed at his general audience on Wednesday.

As Pope Francis said, “Let us pray for the victims and their family members, and let us pray for Lebanon so that with the effort of everyone in society — political and religious — it may face this tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the serious crisis it is experiencing.”

May we, as a people of faith and hope, do our part to answer Pope Francis’ call. Through prayer and temporal sources of assistance, let us seek to uplift the strong and proud people of Beirut, during this time of sorrow and devastation. May the Lord pour out his comfort and mercy upon the people of Lebanon in their hour of need.

+Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez
Archbishop of Philadelphia