JERUSALEM – On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, members of the Coordination of the Pastoral Among Migrants met at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem to discuss the Church’s work with the migrants and asylum seekers and to meet with Archbishop Pizzaballa for the first time.
Present at the meeting were more than thirty members of the Filipino, Indian, Sri Lankan, African, Lebanese and Rumanian chaplaincies, priests and sisters, a representative of the prison ministry team, those working with the Israeli NGOs and the Bedouin and the parish priests of Haifa and Tiberias. The opening prayer was based on words of Pope Francis for the upcoming World Migrants’ Day in January.
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, joined the meeting for the first time. After a round of introductions, during which new members were introduced, Archbishop Pizzaballa addressed those gathered, sharing with them his vision of the place of the migrants in the diocese. He stressed that the Church’s work with the migrants was in perfect continuity with the Church’s awareness that Jerusalem has always been a place echoing the universality of the Church’s mission, an element underlined since the day of Pentecost, right at the beginning. Furthermore, he pointed out that this service was of the poorest and the most needy in our society. As he looked around, he also expressed thanks and joy that those engaged in the pastoral among migrants represented such a diversity, men and women, coming from so many different lands and from a multitude of religious congregations and Church bodies, including also lay people. Archbishop Pizzaballa pointed out that as bishop he was called always to be a servant of unity and communion in the Church and would work for the necessary unity in the Church of Jerusalem among all the various elements that make up the Body of Christ in our land. At the end of his address, Archbishop Pizzaballa blessed those present and wished one and all a blessed preparation for Christmas.
Among the many themes then treated in the meeting were the following:
– the preparation for the celebration of the World Migrant Day, the main mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Pizzaballa in Jaffa,
– the preparation for a day of prayer during Advent for all the chaplains and members of the CPAM,
– the planning for a youth assembly of migrant and Hebrew speaking Catholics,
– the preparation of a yearly financial report,
– the preparations for Christmas
– policy with regard to the invitation of lay people to come for pastoral service.
After the discussion, the participants shared news from the different communities.