Casa de Abraão

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JERUSALEM – On Saturday, October 7, 2017, the House of Abraham had celebrations! Like every year around 9 October, the feast of Saint Abraham, the Board of Secours Catholique-Caritas France invited friends from different associations and religious communities for Mass which was celebrated by Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo in the presence of the Mr. Pierre Cochard, Consul General of France.

Abraham, a big brother in the Faith

Many friends, priests, religious, visitors and pilgrims attended the Mass on Saturday, October 7, celebrating the feast of Saint Abraham. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo in a special place designated in the park area with a panoramic view of the Holy City and in the presence of Mr. Pierre Cochard, Consul General of France. The faithful were able to meditate on the person and faith of Abraham while gazing at Mount Moriah, the place of the sacrifice of Isaac, the sign of Abraham’s faith in our God [1]. It was a spiritual time which obviously cannot be disregarded and taken for granted.

In his homily, the Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine referred to the figure of Abraham and his faith that made him a man of hospitality[2], a man of trust in the other and in God, a man who is open to a culture different from his own [3]. Similarly, because he is confident in the love of God for men, he takes the defense of the inhabitants of Sodom with whom God is angry. [4]

“This is what we are all called to: we need men and women who go beyond fear of the other and are instead ready to be instruments of love for the other. If we do not have this same openness to God and to others, then we are doomed to death.”

The House of Abraham

For Cécile Roy, the director of the House of Abraham, and Sister Amanda, Superior of the community of Dominican Sisters of the Presentation who actively participate in the life of the House, these words of the Bishop could not resonate better. The Home welcomes more than 5,000 people every year, who discover or rediscover the Holy City. Welcoming pilgrims is quite ordinary in Jerusalem, but without the House of Abraham, many would never have come to the Holy Land. Among them are people who have social and financial difficulties and are not able to afford such an expensive trip. But with the impetus from Pope Paul VI and for more than fifty years, Secours Catholique-Caritas France, the House of Abraham has welcomed everyone. It is not only about gratuity or offering a “once in a lifetime” trip but to ensure that everyone is equally welcome. For this reason, Secours Catholique financially supports the House.

In the same spirit, Fr. Jean-Claude Sauzet, the Chaplain of the House, offers those staying there, visits outside of the usual itinerary for pilgrims and invites them to meet people and the reality of the place. It is another way of opening up to one another and fostering solidarity.

A decisive challenge

The House council, made up of local personalities, homeowners and two directors of Secours Catholique, met the same day to look at the house activities and future projects. But beyond the need to always fill the house to keep the budget balanced, to maintain a good relationship with neighbors in a neighborhood that lives the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on a daily basis and to make improvements to be able to welcome pilgrims, there is more that matters, the All-Other.

Being a Catholic pilgrim house does not just mean having good accommodation and food. The House of Abraham welcomes and nourishes everyone, while accompanying them on a journey towards the All-Other.

During the renewal of its mission in 2014, Pope Francis perfectly summarized the goal of the House: “Let the House of Abraham fulfill its mission of solidarity, brotherhood and peace. Then the Gospel of Joy may shine in this place of hospitality.”

Cécile Klos


[1] cf Genesis 22 2. According to tradition, it is the foundation Rock, located on the Temple Mount, currently under the Dome of the Rock

[2] cf the episode of the Oak of Mamre in Genesis 18:2-8

[3] Genesis 12:1 In response to God’s invitation, Abraham left his country for an unknown land.

[4] cf genesis 18:23-32

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