Father Van der Lugt began his ministry in Syria in 1966. During his ministry he was a voice of faith and love in the face of injustice. He offered shelter in his monastery to Muslims and Christians left homeless by the war, which began in March 2011. He was trapped with many other Syrians by the government’s siege on Homs. Despite the obvious risk, Father Van der Lugt stayed in Syria to support the civilians in his ministry. On the morning of April 7, 2014, he was abducted from his home beaten and shot by unidentified men.

The February before his death he exemplified his love for his ministry in a comment to AFP, “The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties,”

January 2014 appeal by Father Van der Lugt to the international community to work for peace in Syria:

Grace Donnelly

Grace is a senior at John Carroll University, double majoring in Sociology and Peace, Justice, and Human Rights. Throughout here experience at JCU she has been involved in many social justice initiatives. She is part of Students For Social Justice’s fair trade committee and contributed to the campaign to make John Carroll a Fair Trade University. Grace is part of Kappa Delta Sorority and an Arrupe Scholar. She is has participated in immersion experiences to Nicaragua and El Salvador. Grace is from Inverness, IL and graduated from Saint Viator High School.