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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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