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Frans van der Lugt: Bridge Builder and Martyr
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Fr. Frans van der Lugt was killed in Homs five years ago. Since then, every day, Christians and Muslims have visited the garden of the Jesuit residence to pray at his tomb.

Fr. Frans – in Arabic Abuna Francis – was a Jesuit priest originally from the Netherlands. He died in Homs, Syria, on April 7, 2014, a few days before his 76th birthday. Pope Francis, the United Nations and the Dutch Government were among those who sent messages of condolence.

A few months earlier television images had been broadcast all over the world of Fr. Frans pleading for an end to the siege of Homs where people were dying of hunger. The civil war had been raging in Syria for several years. In the center of the city of Homs, rebels and government troops fought from street to street and from house to house. A small area, where the Jesuit residence is located, was occupied by the rebel forces. That part of the city had remained isolated: people could not enter or leave, and the entry of supplies was prohibited. Fr. Frans made a television appeal for peace and food. He had stayed in Homs with the people.
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