HOLY LAND – The annual visit of the Holy land Coordination has already started. The delegation of 30 European, North American and South African Bishops are visiting the Christian communities throughout the Holy Land where their focus will be on the theme of education.
On January 14, 2018 the Holy Land Coordination began their visit to the Christian Community in Gaza. In an interview with Archbishop Stephen Brislin, from Cape Town in South Africa, he pointed out that the visit aimed to show support and solidarity to the Christian Communities in the Holy Land and especially in Gaza. They also wanted to make themselves aware of the changes and developments happening in the Holy Land.
The program in 2018, which focuses on education and young people, started off by a Mass celebration in the Church of the Holy Family. “Even though the Catholic community is so minute in Gaza, nonetheless the faith is very strong and people are very committed to living their faith in the difficult circumstances,” said the Archbishop. “One touching experience was our interaction with young people in which we listened to their great challenges and problems they experience; one of them is unemployment. There is a massive unemployment rate in Gaza which is 47%. Such problem effects mostly young people and the fact that the Christian community is so small, they experience the hardship of unemployment in a very particular way. It so sad to see young people who are full of potentials and talents who are frustrated because they don’t have the opportunities to develop their gifts.”
The second day of the visit of Holy Land Coordination was mostly dedicated to visiting the offices of General Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools. Bishop Lionel Gendron from Canada reflected on the visits to these Catholic Schools. “It was impressive how this big number of people is dedicated to the message of Christians, and for humanity and how they are able to relate to each other. It is important for us, coming from different nations, to manifest our solidarity.”
During their visit, Fr. Iyad Twal, General Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and Israel, welcomed the delegation in Beit Jala and introduced a brief presentation entitled “Education as a tool of Peace and Justice”, where he demonstrated the importance of the Latin Patriarchate schools’ mission and the pioneering role that they play in coexistence and interaction with the local community. Afterwards, the delegation visited the Patriarchate schools of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour.
The bishops were able to meet with the seminarians from the Beit Jala Latin Patriarchal Seminary, during which they shared their experiences and challenges.
To check the program of the Holy Land Coordination 2018, please click here.