AIN ARIK/BEIT SAHOUR - On Sunday, May 23rd, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, visited the parishes of Ain Arik and Beit Sahour to celebrate a baptism and several confirmations. An important event for the diocese, symbolizing the presence and involvement of youth in the Christian community of the Holy Land.
It was his first official pastoral visit to Ain Arik. Welcomed by Fr. Firas Abedrabbo, parochial vicar of the village (which depends on the parish of Ramallah), but also by the sisters and fathers of the Little Family of the Annunciation, at the service of the community of Ain Arik since 1988, as well as by many parishioners, the Patriarch celebrated a baptism and administered the sacrament of confirmation to five young people of the parish.
The celebration was followed by a reception and a meal, shared by more than 80 people, including the pastors of the surrounding parishes. Also present were Fr. Yacoub Rafidi, parish priest of Ramallah and head of the Latin Patriarchate schools, Br. Benedetto and Sr. Ada Nava, superiors of the Little Family of the Annunciation, the Greek Orthodox priest of the village, who is very close to the Catholic community, as well as Mr. Khalil Shahin and his wife, representatives of the village's municipal council and parish council, respectively. During the festivities, the Patriarch was offered fruits, books and embroidery, symbols of Christ's threefold growth: in age, in grace and in wisdom.
After this celebration, Mgr Pizzaballa went to Beit Sahour, also to confirm several young people of the parish. Completion of baptism, and a symbol of spiritual maturity, this sacrament echoes Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles; it is expressed by the bishop marking the forehead of the confirmand with the Holy Chrism. By receiving it, on this 6th Sunday of Easter, many young local Christians were thus, in turn, called to witness the message of the Lord.