The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem established the Pastoral Office in 2017. The office, which is composed of a director and a secretary, looks after the different aspects of pastoral work in the diocese, and the transformation of each of these aspects to a project and a feasible and executory plan, by taking the necessary steps to execute this project. It also supervises the project’s executive stages in cooperation with the Presbyteral Council and the rest of the parish priests. A “Pastoral Committee”, which convenes once a month, has been appointed to assist the Pastoral Office. It is composed of 15 members: priests, religious men and women and lay people, and representatives of parishes, institutions and the different communities of the Holy Land.
A number of indispensable issues were selected during the committee’s first meetings, of which the Family issue was eventually chosen to be tacked first following a voting process conducted by the Pastoral Council with the coordination of the pastoral priests. This topic has been selected for its importance following the changes the families have been subject to for the last few decades. The committee decided to organize a confession for families in the diocese and the different parishes, discussing 5 topics developed by the pastoral committee: Relations between partners, relations with the children, relations with others, ways to overcome obstacles, and the mission of the christian family at home, with the church and within the society. Each subject shall require three meetings published in a book entitled “The Journey of Christian Families”.
The project wishes to accompany families after marriage, therefore each parish established a group composed of five to ten families. These groups of families have initiated their mission in 2018. On the other hand, the collective journey organizes periodic and regular conferences and meetings (once every week or once every two weeks), adopting the participatory method, meaning organizing interactive discussions and the exchange of experiences among participants in an active and vital manner, under the supervision of counselors selected specifically for this purpose.
These meetings wish to establish a lifestyle by looking into reality as it is, and nourishing it with the word of God in order to finally arrive at practical conclusions in the area of family life.
A large group of counselors from each parish was selected and then trained in two rounds:
The first round was composed of two stages: The first took place in Jericho and the second in Nazareth. Whereas the second round took place in Bethlehem.
In early September 2018, the “The Journey of Christian Families” initiated its mission in the parishes.
In the footsteps of Jesus
The Pastoral Office of Jerusalem created a game of an educational nature entitled “In the footsteps of Jesus”, which was inspired by the Holy Scripture. This game, which is suitable for all members of the family; children, youth and adults, retraces the steps of Jesus in the Holy Land, from the moment He was born until His death, Resurrection and Ascension, by visiting the places where the events of His childhood took place, starting from His Baptism, teachings and different experiences, and finishing with His Transfiguration, Death and Resurrection. The stories in the Scripture take a lively nature, for they include 60 locations from the lives of Jesus and the First christians. The game deepens the family’s knowledge of the Scripture through the discovery of the Holy sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the Judean Desert, the Dead Sea, the south of the Jordan River, Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum in Galilee, the lake of Tiberias and Caesarea on the Mediterranean.
This game enriches this knowledge of the Holy sites by showing the equivalent scripts in the New Testament (which are mentioned in the Biblical references). The group follows the chronological order of the life of Jesus and his disciples, along with their mission.
The Office conducted several activities with different parishes,schools and youth groups in Palestine.