His Holiness Pope Francis received in his office at the Vatican City the Middle East Council of Churches' General Secretary Dr. Souraya Bechealany, at the head of a delegation that included the MECC director of theological and Ecumenical Department Rev. Fr Gaby Hachem, the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon Rev. Fr. Rouphael Zougheib and the MECC Policies and Communication Advisor Ziad El Sayegh. During the forty minutes meeting, Dr. Bechealany presented a brief on the history of MECC and its ecumenical mission, thanking the Pope for the exceptional initiatives to strengthen the ecumenical processes to serve the witnessing for Jesus Christ as a servant of human dignity.
Afterwards, Dr. Bechealany stressed the core of the path of “Kairos Middle East Towards Churches Global Compact” process, which carries a filial convergence with the Pope's vision and his apostolic positions at this delicate period in the history of the Middle East and the world.
The Secretary General asked the Pope for his Apostolic Blessing, pledging to complete the path of KCGC before the next General Assembly which will be held in Baghdad, Iraq, in September 2020.
Moreover, the Secretary General emphasized that Christians are not minorities and are not in need of any protection, but by their testimony, they are building bridges with their partners of all religions in the region and the world.
From his part, His Holiness Pope Francis welcomed the MECC Secretary General and the accompanying delegation, and reminded them of Dr. Bechealany’s intervention at the ecumenical meeting in Bari on July 2018.
The Pope called on MECC to work hard to an effective development for the concept and experience of synodality, which is at the heart of the Church’s unity and the strong expression of the dynamicity of the Holy Spirit in it.
Pope Francis praised the efforts of the Secretary General as a woman at the head of the Council, and reminded her and the delegation that “the Church is a woman, is it not the bride of Christ?”
After receiving the Blessing of His Holiness to MECC, Dr. Bechealany has an exceptional wish for his holiness to embark for launching a third Vatican Council, in the third millennium, as the world awaits a prophetic voice in the face of rising waves of populism, racist, nationalism and extremism. The Pope replied: "Pray for me, this is not easy."
At the beginning of the meeting, the Secretary General had offered Pope Francis an icon of St. Ignatius of Antioch, as a symbol of unity among the Churches, while the Pope granted her and the delegation the papal medal.