"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Solemn Feast of Saint Joseph in the Latin Parish of Shefaamer

Posted on Mar 24, 2017

The Melkite, Maronite, Orthodox and Anglican parish priests, whose presence was a witness to a good ecumenical life in a city marked also by the presence of Muslims and Druze.

Twenty-two children made First Communion and received the Sacrament of Confirmation

SHEFAAMER – On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Latin parish of Shefaamer gathered to celebrate Saint Joseph, patron saint of the parish. Twenty-two children made First Communion and received the Sacrament of Confirmation from the hands of Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Israel.

The church hall of this town in northern Israel was was filled with faithful to celebrate St. Joseph: parishioners, relatives and friends of the twenty-two children who responded to the invitation of Father Elie Kurzum, pastor of the parish. The Betharram community was also present, accompanied by Father Jean-Luc Morin, Regional Superior, who was in town for canonical visitation. The Melkite, Maronite, Orthodox and Anglican parish priests, whose presence was a witness to a good ecumenical life in a city marked also by the presence of Muslims and Druze.

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Catholic Delegation for Cooperation 50 Years in the Holy Land

Posted on Mar 24, 2017

The CDC celebrates 50 years in the Holy Land

by Vivien Laguette | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem | March 21, 2017

JERUSALEM – On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the Catholic Delegation for Cooperation assembled on the weekend of March 18 and 19 at the Maison d’Abraham and also during a Mass celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Anne on Saturday night the 19th, at which the French Consul General in Jerusalem, Pierre Cochard, was present

IMG_0042.JPGThe French NGO, CDC, is an organization licensed by the state to send volunteers worldwide. Its mission: to support local stakeholders in countries of the South Coordination in their development projects. Operating in more than 50 countries, the CDC has over 500 volunteers who contribute to these projects. Of these, 14 are currently in the Holy Land. During a weekend marked by moments of rich exchanges, reminders and feedback, there was the opportunity for everyone to meet at the Maison d’Abraham with Guillaume Nicolas, CEO of CDC, Pierrick Madinier, representative of the CDC Board of Directors, as well as Marie-Bernadette Caro and Frédéric Mounier, Holy Land project managers.

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Unprecedented ecumenical ceremony marks inauguration of restored Edicule of the Tomb of Christ

Posted on Mar 24, 2017

Photos © Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem; © Custody of the Holy Land

by Myriam Ambroselli | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem | March 23, 2017

HOLY SEPULCHER – On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the Churches of Jerusalem gathered in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher to contemplate on the result of ten months of restoration of the edicule sheltering the Tomb of Christ in an ecumenical ceremony bearing witness to a unity that has made possible such work.

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Israel’s Apartheid Elephant Is Still in the Room

Posted on Mar 23, 2017


by James M. Wall | Wallwritings | March 23, 2017

In a 1935 stage production of Billy Rose’s Jumbo, Jimmy Durante is leading an elephant down the street. A policeman stops him and asks, “What are you doing with that elephant?”

Durante responds, “What elephant”? That line became a 1935 nightly show-stopper. Durante repeated the same question in the 1962 film version of Jumbo (right).

Wikipedia speculates that this line may have contributed to the phrase, “the elephant in the room”, which refers to the denial of something as a reality, when that something is obviously in the room.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres last week became the latest official to deny the obvious presence of the apartheid elephant enforced by the state of Israel.

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Fanaticism and Interpretation of the Texts

Posted on Mar 23, 2017

In the fight against extremism, one of the central issue is what the rules for a correct interpretation of sacred texts are

Speakers at the meeting between al-Azhar and the Vatican delegation

Martino Diez | Oasis | 01 March 2017

We are publishing the excerpt of the speech delivered by Martino Diez, Scientific director of the Oasis Foundation, at the seminar held on February 22 – 23 at the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo on “the fight against fanaticism, extremisms and violence in the name of religion”. The seminar, led by the Deputy of Al-Azhar ‘Abbas Shuman and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, marks the resumption of the dialogue between Al-Azhar and the Vatican. The full text will be published in a volume curated by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and al-Azhar.

[…] Compared to other forms of extremism, owns the specific feature of using the language of faith as a mobilizing force. There is nothing surprising in this: religion is one of the major forces behind man. It would seem easy to dismiss the matter by saying that fanaticism represents an opportunistic use of religion for purposes unrelated to it, for example of political nature, but in reality things are not that simple: the majority of fanatics, including their leaders, acts in good faith, without hypocrisy. Refusing to reckon this basic fact means condemning oneself to not understand the phenomenon from the very beginning.

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Text of Resignation Letter By ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf

Posted on Mar 20, 2017

United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary for the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Rima Khalaf anounces her resignation. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

[The following text is the resignation letter submitted by ESWA Executie Secretary Rima Khalaf in response to the formal request by UN Secretary General that ESCWA withdraw the publication of a report that asserts Israel is committing Apartheid. Click here to access the full ESCWA report, which has since been removed from the UN website.]

March 18, 2017

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

I have carefully considered your message conveyed through the Chef de Cabinet and assure you that at no point have I questioned your right to order the withdrawal of the report from our website or the fact that all of us working in the Secretariat are subject to the authority of its Secretary-General. Nor do I have any doubts regarding your commitment to human rights in general, or your firm position regarding the rights of the Palestinian people. I also understand the concerns that you have, particularly in these difficult times that leave you little choice.

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Another UN Report

Posted on Mar 20, 2017

Samia Khoury

Samia Khoury

by Samia Khoury of East Jerusalem

Once again Israel acts with rage because it cannot cope with the Truth. It is very unfortunate that, the UN has not only failed for the last seventy years to bring justice to the Palestinians, it has also lost its credibility for reacting outrageously against any statements or reports that expose the truth about Israel. The recent report of ESCWA describing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid led to the resignation of Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian UN diplomat and executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia when she was pressured by the UN General Secretary to withdraw the report. Click here for her letter of resignation. I wish more diplomats had this kind of integrity.

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Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land meet in Bethlehem

Posted on Mar 18, 2017

Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land meet in Bethlehem

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

BETHLEHEM – On March 14 -15, 2017, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land met at Casa Nova in Bethlehem. At the heart of the discussions were the Catholic schools of the diocese and the youth of the Holy Land, in preparation for the October 2018 Synod on the theme “Youth, faith and vocational discernment”.

The Ordinaries held their bi-annual meeting in Bethlehem on Tuesday and Wednesday. The discussions were facilitated by the Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Galilee George Bacouni with the participation of the two Apostolic Nuncios of Cyprus, Israel, Palestine and Jordan, Archbishop Lazzarotto and Archbishop Ortega Martin; the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, Archbishop. Pierbattista Pizzaballa and the four Patriarchal Vicars, Bishops William Shomali and Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo , and Fathers David Neuhaus and Jerzy Kraj. Also present at the meeting were Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah and Bishop Emeritus Kamal Bathish; the Maronite Archbishops Joseph Soueif of Cyprus and Moussa El-Hage of the Holy Land; Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem Jules-Joseph Zerey; , Greek Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Akka Bishop Boutros Mouallem; the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton; a representative of the Syrian Catholic Church, Fr. Efrem; and representatives of religious communities.

Fr. Patton, Custos of the Holy Land took advantage of this gathering to invite everyone to the inauguration of the restored Aedicule in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher on March 22.

The discussions then focused on the Catholic youth of the Holy Land and the Catholic schools of the diocese, which are still going through a difficult period, particularly in Israel with a financial crisis that remains unresolved, as the Israeli Ministry of Education has not honored its commitments. School leaders from different countries of the diocese presented a joint paper on the mission and vision of Catholic schools that will be further developed in the coming months before being validated by the bishops.

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Freedom Walk 2017

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Dr. Frank ROMANO writes:

Freedom Walk 2017

We invite you to contribute to and attendance of the meeting for Freedom in Palestine in several locations in Palestine and Israel listed below. There we will go a peaceful march. To express our freedom of thought and expression and to deliver a message to the world that the people of Palestine deserve to live within the democratic framework. This is about the sanctity of the soil of Palestine. Its people will stay there after the departure of the last occupier. We will continue our steadfastness at all costs arbitrariness and brutality of the Israeli occupation.

And to the dawn of peace, just and lasting peace

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Post Vatican and Al-Azhar Symposium, what is the role of the faithful in interreligious dialogue?

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Photo: abouna.org

Saher Kawas | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

VATICAN/CAIRO – Since their rapprochement in May 2016, the Vatican and Al-Azhar saw their first interreligious symposium last February, after several years of restrained relations. In the meanwhile and awaiting fruitful results, the faithful search for their role and place in interreligious dialogue.

On February 22- 23, 2017, a symposium entitled “The role of Al-Azhar Al- Sharif and of the Vatican in confronting the phenomena of fanaticism, extremism and violence in the name of religion” took place at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

As an influential Islamic institution, Al-Azhar oversees a national network of schools, where a secular and religious curriculum is taught to two million students, and runs the Islamic Research Complex, which is in charge of issuing edicts that pertain to the public interest.

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Archaeologists discover a treasure-laden shipwreck from the Crusades

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Coins are the key to linking the wreck to the fleeing Crusaders (Philippe Bohstrom)

Jeva Lange | The Week

The year 1291 A.D. was a dark year for Christian Crusaders in the Holy Land. When the Crusader capital of Jerusalem was lost to Saladin in 1187, the Haifa Bay port of Acre became the new landing site for European soldiers, knights, and horses as well as an international trading hub for the export of sugar, spices, glass, and textiles back to Europe. But by the spring of 1291, an Egyptian sultan, Al-Ashraf Khalil, had moved in with 100,000 cavalry and foot soldiers to banish the Crusaders from the Holy Land once and for all.

Marine archeologists have now discovered the remains of a treasure-laden Crusader ship that they have reason to believe was one of many vessels that tried to flee Acre when the sultan stormed the city, Haaretz reports. The wood on the ship dates back to between 1062 and 1250 A.D. but among the keel and planks that remain the archaeologists also discovered 30 gold coins.

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Bishop Pizzaballa’s pastoral visit to Cyprus: “Jerusalem is the symbol of our unity”

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Myriam Ambroselli | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

CYPRUS – From March 11-13, 2017, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, visited the Cyprus parishes, priests and Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. There were many moments of fraternity, sharing, and ecumenical interaction.

The two-day visit began with a Mass in the parish of Nicosia, one of the four Latin parishes of Cyprus. The small island of the Diocese of Jerusalem actually has three parishes run by the Franciscans (Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol) and a parish run by the Community of the Incarnate Word in Paphos. Mass in the parish of Nicosia was an opportunity for the Archbishop to recall how “the Patriarchate includes different realities, Jordan and Cyprus, for example, but Jerusalem unites us, Jerusalem is the symbol of our unity.”

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An “invisible” Catholic organization celebrates 90 years of humanitarian work

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

A religious sister is seen comforting a sick woman in 2016 at Snehadam Old Age Home in Gurgaon, India. Catholic Near East Welfare Association is celebrating 90 years of service to Eastern Catholic churches and the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. (CNS photo/courtesy John E. Kozar, CNEWA)

Beth Griffin | Catholic News Service in America Magazine | March 15, 2017

An “invisible” Catholic organization celebrated 90 years of quiet service to the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

Msgr. John E. Kozar, secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, said the agency maintains a low profile because it works through and with the local church.

“They know best how to represent the face of Christ. We trust their experience, holiness and knowledge about how to govern and care for their people,” he said in a Feb 28 interview with Catholic News Service.

The mission of the organization is to serve and accompany Eastern Catholic churches in pastoral and humanitarian activities, generally at the level of the diocese or eparchy, Msgr. Kozar said. A secondary mission is to share the needs of the Eastern churches with people in North America who may be confused about where Eastern churches fit in the larger Catholic picture.

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Urgent! Help protect Palestinian shepherds! Thursday at the Jordan Valley with Taayush

Posted on Mar 15, 2017

gush shalomAdam Keller of Gush Shalom writes:

A group of volunteers heads out every Thursday to the Jordan Valley, where the Israeli Occupation has been systematically demolishing Palestinian villages, restricting access to water supplies and grazing lands, and incessantly limiting Palestinian’s freedom of movement.

This coming Thursday, March 16, we will be heading again to our activity in several locations in the area, accompany Palestinian farmers and shepherds to their lands and help them stand up for their rights. 

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Iraqi refugees put pieces of their lives back together in ‘City of Mosaics’

Posted on Mar 14, 2017

Iraqi refugees apply mosaic skills gained within the Living Mosaic project in Madaba (Photo by Rula Samain)

 

By Rula Samain | The Jordan times | Mar 12,2017

MADABA — Aimed at helping people displaced by war and terror rebuild their lives, a project in the “City of Mosaics” is training Iraqi refugees with skills to face future challenges.

The Living Mosaic project in Madaba, 30km southwest of Amman, is financially supported by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in cooperation with the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Germany, according to Father Imad Twal, a Catholic priest in Jerusalem.

The initiative teaches Iraqi refugees to design and craft mosaics in order to earn a living.

Nihad, not her real name, is one of thousands of Iraqi Christians who took refuge in Jordan after the Daesh terror group took over parts of Iraq in 2014, forcing them to leave their country or risk death.

“I used to be a biology teacher and I loved it. Now I am a refugee, broken, tired and very much desperate, and I say that on behalf of everyone I know,” the 37-year-old told The Jordan Times.

For Nihad and 15 others, life has become a little more bearable since joining the Living Mosaic project.

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Perhaps the Messiah Will Come

Posted on Mar 11, 2017

gush shalomby Uri Avnery

IF SOMEONE had told me 50 years ago that the rulers of Israel, Jordan and Egypt had met in secret to make peace, I would have thought that I was dreaming.

If I had been told that the leaders of Egypt and Jordan had offered Israel complete peace in return for leaving the occupied territories, with some exchanges of territory and a token return of refugees, I would have thought that the Messiah had come. I would have started to believe in God or Allah or whoever there is up there.

Yet a few weeks ago it was disclosed that the rulers of Egypt and Jordan had indeed met in secret last year with the Prime Minister of Israel in Aqaba, the pleasant sea resort where the three states touch each other. The two Arab leaders, acting de facto for the entire Arab world, had made this offer. Benyamin Netanyahu gave no answer and went home.

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Book on conditions of Christians in region launched

Posted on Mar 11, 2017

Panelists discuss the Arabic edition of Nael Gerges’ book ‘Christians of the Middles East: Towards Citizenship’ at the Orthodox Club in Amman last week (Photo by Rula Samain)

By Rula Samain | The Jordan Times | Mar 11,2017

AMMAN — Documenting the situation of Christians and their rights in four Arab countries, the Arabic edition of Nael Gerges’ book Christians of the Middles East: Towards Citizenship was launched in Amman on Tuesday.

The book discusses ways of improving the conditions of Christians in the region and creating a new Middle East based on religious and political pluralism, with the aim of minimizing Christian emigration.

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Swiss Guards Make Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Posted on Mar 10, 2017

Holy Land Christians need to know they still have a lot to give to the Christians of the world. When pilgrims come from China, from South Africa, from Rome, it affirms that this place is special and that they are special.  –Franciscan Father David Grenier from the Custody of the Holy Land

Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Pixabay)

Michele Chabin | National Catholic Register | March 10, 2017

JERUSALEM — The first organized Holy Land pilgrimage in Pontifical Swiss Guard history quietly took place last month, with none of the attention the Pope’s foot soldiers ordinarily attract.

Dressed in their civilian clothes and not their distinctive orange-purple-and-red uniforms, 12 of the 110 guardsmen who protect the Pope toured Christian holy sites throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories Feb. 13-19.

“The main purpose of the trip was to learn more about the places where Jesus lived, where he preached, where he died and was resurrected,” said Father Thomas Widmer, the group’s chaplain, during a visit to the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame in Jerusalem. “For most of us, it is our first time here, and we are full of impressions.”

The pilgrimage included visits to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the Galilean sites of Nazareth, Tabgha and Capernaum.

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WCC gravely concerned over Israel’s travel ban

Posted on Mar 9, 2017

Church in Bethlehem. ©Albin Hillert/WCC

World Council of Churches

March 9, 2017 -The World Council of Churches (WCC) today expressed grave concern about a new law passed on Monday by the Knesset which reportedly forbids granting entry visas to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The ‘Entry to Israel Act (Denial of Visa to Non-Residents Who Knowingly Call for a Boycott on Israel)’ apparently makes no distinction between boycotting Israel proper and boycotting products of the settlements, which are widely considered illegal under international law.

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A festive crowd in Bethlehem welcomed the victory of the young Christian Yacoub Shaheen

Posted on Mar 9, 2017

A festive crowd in Bethlehem to greet the victory of the young Christian Yacoub Shaheen

by Myriam Ambroselli | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem | Feb. 27, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Hundreds of Palestinians rejoiced in the streets of Bethlehem on Saturday evening, February 25, 2017, after the victory of the young Christian singer, Shaheen Yacoub, who became second Palestinian to win the Arab TV contest, Arab Idol, one of the most popular programs of the Arab world, a competition for young talent.

Yacoub Shaheen, 23, a Syrian Christian and son of a Bethlehem carpenter, won Saturday night’s Arab Idol competition, competing with another Palestinian and a Yemeni in the final, in Lebanon.

Yacoub (in English, James), a young acolyte of the Syrian parish of Bethlehem, has been able to follow the star. He became the second Palestinian to win this prestigious competition, after Mohammed Assaf, in 2013, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

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Basil of Al-Walaja: RIP

Posted on Mar 8, 2017

In his email to the Palestinian Christians group, Mazin Qumsiyeh wrote:

My encounter with the Al-Araj family began in 2009, the year I met Basil and Shireen and started joining them in demonstrations in Al-Walaja village. On 6 March 2017, Basil was murdered by the Israeli army. He was 31 years old. Others will speak of his martyrdom, I will speak of his life and what he told me. Basil would have wanted it told this way. I learned intimate details about Basil and his family life the third time we were detained together. He was 24 years old; I was twice his age. This was in what Basil accurately described as “a holding pen not fit for animals” which I and many Palestinian males shared with one Palestinian female, my friend and Basil’s aunt Shireen Al-Araj. I had been “taken” twice before with Basil and once with Shireen before this particular incident (and more after). It was these arrests that deepened my high regard for the family. Beyond their decency and honest dealings were acts of self-sacrifice that earned the family the respect of their entire village of Al-Walaja and I dare say all of Palestine. This is similar to Al-Tamimi family of Nebi Saleh and it was no coincidence that Basem Tamimi was there with us in Al-Walaja the day after Basil’s murder. Here I am not telling you the story of Basil, but I am recounting what Basil told me and what I had written down in 2014 (was planning to publish inspirational Palestinian stories in a book). I merely now edited it to (a) add this introduction), (b) change to past tense instead of present tense (‘Basil says or relays’ now becomes ‘Basil said or relayed’), and (c) to include a brief ending with his last words.

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Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns: Viability or Demise of the “Two-state Solution”

Posted on Mar 7, 2017

151210 Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Commentary: The articles and links of this issue of the Middle East Notes focus on the viability or demise of the “two-state solution.” The majority of the Palestinian leaders and people would accept such a solution, even though they believe current the “fact of the ground” that settlers, settlements, the wall, access roads, and blockade have already made this solution impossible.

The majority of Israeli leaders and people prefer either the status quo or annexation of the occupied territories. It seems the Israeli people are choosing a “one-state” solution and are now facing the question of what kind of state that will be with almost numerically equal Israeli and Palestinian populations.

There seem to be three choices: to continue the untenable and ultimately unsustainable status quo of military domination of Palestinians; to foster full political rights and responsibilities for all Palestinians and Israelis alike in this one state which will slowly end the Zionist dream of a nation for and of Jews; or to deny political rights and responsibilities to Palestinians within the borders of this one apartheid state. In light of Israeli domination of the Palestinians, it is only Israel that has the power, challenge, and responsibility to make such a choice. 

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Christian Peacemaker Team: Discrimination

Posted on Mar 7, 2017

160423 cpt

Pictured here: On the weekly settler incursion to the Old City, Palestinian residents are prevented from accessing their homes whilst settlers are allowed to move freely, under the protection of Israeli Military Forces.

(March 4, 2017)

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Father Dave, with a debrief on his last Syria trip

Posted on Mar 7, 2017

Our delegation was deeply impressed by the aid work being done by the church in Syria, and no work was more impressive than that of ‘Gopa Derd’ – the aid arm of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

Anglican Father Dave Smith of Australia writes about his last trip to Syria:

Our delegation meets Dr Hassoun – the Grand Mufti of Syria (and one of my favourite human beings)

Firstly, let me thank all of you who made our New Year’s trip to Syria possible – supporting us financially and with prayer. Secondly, let me apolgise for the time it has taken to feed back to you about the trip.

I’ll address my time issues later in this missive, but let me say first that I think the trip was highly constructive and that we achieved most of our aims, if not all of them.

We didn’t get to Aleppo, and we didn’t get the media focus on the Syrian people that we had been looking for. Even so, we did deliver some tangible aid and, most importantly, we did work out a way of getting ongoing aid where it’s most needed.

This, in my opinion, is the biggest problem facing Syria at the moment. The victory on the battlefield is all but complete. Even so, life is not returning to normal. So many homes have been destroyed and so many people are in need, and the country is simply out of resources! The Syrian people need help in order to rebuild, yet instead of sending them aid, we impose sanctions, making it impossible for them to rebuild!

There is a demonic paradox at the heart of Western foreign policy towards Syria:

  1. We bomb their country and destroy their homes
  2. Through sanctions, we then stop them from rebuilding
  3. We then complain like hell if they try to leave their country to join us!

US Senator, Chris Murphy, summed up the situation rather succinctly in a Twitter Tweet recently: “We bomb your country, creating a humanitarian nightmare, then lock you inside. That’s a horror movie, not a foreign policy.”

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Uri Avnery: The Cannons of Napoleon

Posted on Mar 7, 2017

gush shalomby Uri Avnery

NAPOLEON CAME to a German town and was not welcomed with the traditional artillery salute.

Furious, he summoned the mayor and demanded an explanation.

The German produced a long scroll of paper and said: “I have a list of 99 reasons. Reason No. 1: we have no cannon.”

“That’s enough'” Napoleon interrupted him, “You can go home!”

I WAS reminded of this story some two weeks ago, when I read Yitzhak Herzog’s 10-point peace plan.

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Memorable experience of Equestrian Order members who served in the Holy Land

Posted on Mar 7, 2017

Memorable experience of Equestrian Order members who served in the Holy Land

 

Interview by Myriam Ambroselli | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

INTERVIEW – Henrique and Carola Abreu, Knight and Lady of the Holy Sepulcher, served in the Holy Land for three years. In this interview, they both explain the profound motivation behind their mission and the challenges they faced during those years. They also talk about some concrete ways of supporting the local Christian communities. 

When and how did you arrive in the Holy Land?  Why did you decide to dedicate this time of your life to the local Church?

We arrived in Jerusalem in January of 2014.

Following the visit and spiritual message of the Holy Father given in Brazil in 2013, we both felt inspired by his homily of charity and love. We knew the Holy Land through our previous yearly visits to the Patriarchate and to the Christian communities.

That call marked the time to make the necessary preparations and plan for three sabbatical years to serve as volunteers.  We placed our personal and professional experiences in God’s hands and our desire to serve the needs of the Mother Church and the local communities, so He could decide how to best use them for our Church.

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Former Vatican ambassador: Border walls reflect inhumane indifference

Posted on Mar 6, 2017

Miguel Díaz | John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University in Chicago; U.S. ambassador to the Holy See from 2009 through 2012

On his first trip outside of Rome, in 2013, Pope Francis traveled to Lampedusa, the island off the coast of southern Italy where African migrants and refugees, many of them Muslims, first enter Europe. There the pope evoked a central theme within the Judeo-Christian story, the practice of hospitality and welcoming God in the presence of strangers (Heb 13:2). Speaking as a child of Italian immigrants to Argentina, the pope named and rejected one of the salient experiences of our times: the globalization of human indifference. He called upon nations to practice hospitality toward refugees and immigrants, as he pointed to the tragedy of human bodies lost at sea “in boats which were vehicles of hope and became vehicles of death.”

In the United States, the practice of welcoming “strangers” does not simply offer Catholics a way to keep Lady Liberty’s promise to accept “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Catholics also welcome these persons as a fundamental expression of Christian faith.

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Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Tomasi visit Our Lady of Peace Center

Posted on Mar 6, 2017

Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Tomasi visit Our Lady of Peace Center

Remy Brun | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

AMMAN – On Monday, February 27, 2017, Our Lady of Peace welcomed a delegation led by Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, and Archbishop Tomasi, Permanent Observer Emeritus to United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies in Geneva.

The two prelates celebrated morning Mass in the Church of the Good Shepherd, then had a long meeting with many Iraqi refugees from cities of the plain of Nineveh, for the most part Mosul and Qaraqosh, to express the compassion and support of the Church during their exile and time of suffering.

Hundreds of Iraqi families have been welcomed at Our Lady of Peace Center and work there, which guarantees them employment, an income and more dignified living conditions.

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Apostolic Administrator: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”

Posted on Mar 6, 2017

Letter to the Diocese
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels”
(2 Corinthians 4:7)

Dear brother bishops and priests,

Dear brothers and sisters, faithful in all our parishes and religious communities,

“Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us.” With these powerful words, Pope Francis begins his letter to the faithful on the occasion of Lent.

Since July 15, 2016, I have been at the helm of the diocese as the Apostolic Administrator. I have spent these past months learning, rooting myself in what is now our shared reality: the life of our Latin Patriarchate. For the past 170 years this Patriarchate has played and still plays an important role in the life of the Christians in the Holy Land. Our parishes, schools and many other institutions have contributed much to the life of the Christians in these lands and have strengthened our witness to Christ and his Resurrection from the dead. However, we all know that the naming of an Apostolic Administrator, someone from outside the Patriarchate clergy, was an unexpected decision, and it came as a surprise shock to many. It led to the conclusion that all is not well. Indeed, mistakes have been made and wrong decisions have been made which have affected the life of the Patriarchate, financially and administratively, mainly concerning the American University of Madaba. We had failed in some important areas, perhaps not focused enough on our primary mission: preaching the Gospel and dedicate ourselves to the pastoral activities.

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About a hundred children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in Nazareth

Posted on Mar 6, 2017

About a hundred children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in Nazareth

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

NAZARETH – On Saturday and Sunday, February 24 – 25, 2017, almost a hundred children from the parish of the Annunciation in Nazareth received the Sacrament of Confirmation from the hands of Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo. It was the culmination of three months of careful preparation

A total of 92 children between the ages of 10 and 12 were confirmed in Nazareth during two ceremonies on Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25. The children were divided into two groups of boys and girls, because of the large number and for the success of the celebration.

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