On Sunday, September 10th, 2023, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, met with the religious people who serve the diocese at the Notre Dame Auditorium, in Jerusalem. The meeting aimed to inform the religious sisters and brothers of the latest developments taking place in the church of the Middle East, and to discuss the various difficulties facing the Church of the Holy Land, especially those related to the religious communities. It is worth noting that the religious communities of Jordan and Cyprus attended the meeting through the live broadcast.
Mgr Pizzaballa began with a debrief about the “Rooted in Hope” Conference, which was held in April in Cyprus for the Churches in the Middle East. He also highlighted the urgency intending to the concerns of the youth, as they are drifting away from the Church. “The youth need to encounter Christ, not a religious institute, hence, creating the right space for them to receive guidance and spiritual formation is important. We need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit while giving spiritual guidance to the youth,” he added.
Many topics were discussed during the meeting, such as: the Spiritual formation of the clergy and laity; preserving the spiritual aspect of the religious communities; the importance of finding new ways to teach Catechism. “Catechism does not convert someone; it just puts faith in order. But a true encounter with Christ is where the change of heart occurs. A catechist needs to be a true faithful embodying Christ to those they teach,” he said.
The participants were given the opportunity for their questions to be asked and answered by the Patriarch. One of the religious sisters of St. Anne, who has been serving in Haifa for a few months expressed saying: this meeting helped her better understand the state of the Church in the Holy Land, to help her better serve the parishioners spiritual needs.
Fr. Marco Riva, the spiritual assistant of the religious in the Holy Land, concluded the meeting by presiding over a Mass at the chapel of Notre Dame.