ABOUD – From May 19th to May 21st, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, made a pastoral visit to the parish of Aboud, after having previously visited the parishes of Til’Al’Ali (Jordan), Bethlehem, and Ramallah.
These pastoral visits are generally marked by a spirit of sharing and communion, vital for the spiritual growth and well-being of the Body of Christ, that is, the Church, with the pastor seeking to cement his relationship with its members.
“…Feed my lambs… Tend my sheep… Feed my sheep,” Jesus said to Simon Peter before ascending (John 21: 15-18).
Mgr Pizzaballa's main objective behind these visits is to better understand the living conditions of the faithful, to listen to their problems, joys and needs, and to pray, celebrate and rejoice with them.
On May 19th, the Patriarch was thus welcomed at the entrance of the village of Aboud by Fr. Remon Haddad, the parish priest, the scouts and the parishioners, before meeting with the authorities of the village, including Dr. Lalia Ghannam, governor of Ramallah.
Then, Mgr Pizzaballa presided over a Mass at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, the parish church, where he administrated the sacrament of Baptism to a little girl, along with the First Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation to 6 boys and 2 girls of the parish. The Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Remon, Fr. Davide Meli, Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate, and Fr. Hanna Mass’ad, parish priest of Beit Jala.
"I am happy and grateful to have received my first communion and confirmation from the Patriarch and to have heard his words of encouragement to walk in the footsteps of Christ," said one of the children from the parish.”
In the afternoon, after a lunch with the LPJ priests of the Ramallah region, His Beatitude visited the sick of the village and prayed with them. He then attended a meeting with the parishioners to discuss plans and ideas for the development of the parish, as well as listen to their ideas, opinions and needs.
On the second day, Mgr Pizzaballa met with the sisters of the Rosary, and visited the LPJ school in Aboud, where he met with the administrative and teaching staff as well as with Mr. Elias Azar, head of the village council, and its members, to hear about the latest developments and ways to improve the education in the village. The Patriarch then met with the clerics and representatives of the major institutions in Aboud.
As the pastoral visit coincided with a celebration by the parish in honor of couples married for 25 years or more, His Beatitude presided over the Mass and blessed and encouraged each of the couples to remain faithful to their vows to each other, keeping Christ at the center of their marriage.
The day concluded with a meeting with the members of the parish council, in the presence of the parish priest.
As the school semester is ending and summer break is about to begin, the Patriarch, on the last day of his visit, presided over a Mass to bless the high school graduates of the parish. Afterwards, he met with Fr. Emmanuel Awad, the parish priest of the Dormition of the Theotokos Orthodox church, and the parishioners, ending his visit by sharing a lunch with the expatriates of the village who moved to Jordan.