BETHLEHEM – From December 1-3, 2017, the International Forum of the Catholic Action began a youth training seminar in different parishes in the Bethlehem area with the aim to create a group of representatives of the Latin Parishes of the Diocese of Jerusalem to promote exchange projects and bring interests to the parishes around the world about the Holy places and the living stones.
The idea of this seminary developed from a desire to create occasions of formation for the lay people serving for the pastoral work of the parishes in the Diocese of Jerusalem.
Through the first day of the seminar, Fr. Rami Asakrieh, the parish priest of St. Catherine in Bethlehem and Fr. Hanna Salem, parish priest of Church of the Annunciation, welcomed the attendees of the IFCA and the groups of youth that participated from different parishes. Bishop Boulus Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem reflected on the Congress of the International forum that took place in Rome in April 2017, and presented the main ideas and goals of the congress.
On Saturday December 2nd, after the morning Mass in the Grotto of the Nativity, Fr. Tony Zghendy, the youth director in Nazareth presented his speech about the vocation of youth in the church and in the society in the Holy Land from the II Vatican Council to evangelii Gaudium. The participants had several interventions and discussions on the challenges the parishes have and proposed solutions. After the discussion, the participants attended the solemn entry of Fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, in the Nativity Church.
After the lunch break, Ms. Maria Grazia Tibaldi, the representative of JEC Palestine and GIFRA Holy Land introduced the Holy Land experience from the angle of youth participation in different parishes and organizations. She also represented the Catholic Action experiences around the world. The youth discussed the possibility to live and promote the vocation of lay people with specific responsibility and contribution.
On Sunday, December 3rd, they attended the solemn Mass in St. Catherine church presided by Most Rev. Fr. Francesco Patton, after they had met in Dar AlMajus Guest House to conclude their meetings.
Friday, December 1
Saturday December 2