"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Blessing of the new Christian Information Center

Posted on Oct 19, 2018

Christian Media CenterSince 1973 the Christian Information Center offers a steady service to pilgrims. On Monday, October 15, the blessing of the building in a whole new look, took place. Pilgrims, and also the many tourists who flock to Jerusalem will be able to enjoy the first stages of a multimedia exhibition by way of modern technology.

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Acts of vandalism at the cemetery of the Salesian Monastery of Beit Jamal

Posted on Oct 19, 2018

Christian Media CenterNew acts of vandalism against the local Christian community. 28 graves in the Salesian cemetery of the monastery of Beit Jamal have been destroyed, a few kilometers from Jerusalem.

An episode that takes place just 2 years after a similar act of vandalism, that hit the same cemetery and a year after the desecration of the church of the same monastery.

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Holy Land: Catholic Justice and Peace Commission condemn demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

Posted on Oct 19, 2018

Image: Catholic Justice and Peace Commission released statement on demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

People gather for evening prayer in Khan al Ahmar, October 2018. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has issued the following statement strongly condemning the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.

“After a long period of legal struggle, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Israeli Authorities are entitled to demolish the Bedouin village at Khan al-Ahmar and areas nearby and transfer the residents to an area near Jericho,” the statement reads. “Many of these people were already displaced after the 1948 War and are now, once again, being violently uprooted to make way for more illegal Israeli settlements.”

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Chaldean cardinal says promised U.S. aid for Iraq hasn’t come

Posted on Oct 17, 2018

Image: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Iraq, show the signed agreement on the Hungarian government's contribution of funds for restoring the houses of Iraqi. (CNS photo/Noemi Bruzak, EPA)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Iraq, show the signed agreement on the Hungarian government’s contribution of funds for restoring the houses of Iraqi. (CNS photo/Noemi Bruzak, EPA)

… he suggested that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which gave way to years of instability that facilitated the birth of the Islamic State group, was responsible for the exodus of Iraqi Christians from communities that have existed since the time of Jesus.

Nicole Winfield – Associated Press |Susannah George – Associated Press

America, the Jesuit Review October 17, 2018

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The head of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church complained on Tuesday that promised U.S. aid for religious minorities in Iraq hasn’t materialized, issuing an unusual public rebuke of the United States on the same day Washington announced a new infusion of assistance.

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Christian Peacemaker Team: Occupation of Palestinian Homes

Posted on Oct 16, 2018

Image: Most recent settler occupation of Palestinian homes

Most recent settler occupation of Palestinian homes

Christian Peacemaker Team, October 16, 2018 – This week the Israeli government approved over $6 million dollars of funding for settlement expansion in al-Khalil. 31 housing units are slated to be built. This is in violation of international law, as an occupying power is not permitted to move its own citizens into occupied territory. Settlements significantly impact Palestinian life as there are more restrictions, the potential for harassment and violence towards Palestinians.

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As Bethlehem’s Mayor, I Ask: Why Are U.S. Christians Celebrating Israeli Policies Strangling Jesus’ Birthplace?

Posted on Oct 15, 2018

Image: Mayor Anton Salman

Mayor Anton Salman

Haaretz | Oct 15, 2017

Anton Salman

The language of Netanyahu and his cabinet increasingly references a Bible-citing and religious, rather than political, war against the Palestinians. And American evangelicals are his enthusiastic foot-soldiers.

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Bethlehem Mayor Blasts Netanyahu: Stop Using Christians to Whitewash Occupation

Posted on Oct 15, 2018

Image: ARCHIVE - Bethlehem, 2014

ARCHIVE – Bethlehem, 2014Nasser Nasser / AP

Netanyahu said on Sunday that the number of Christians in the city has plummeted since its handover to the Palestinian Authority

Oct 15, 2018 4:42 PM

by Jack Khoury

Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman strongly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, calling on the premier to stop “using Christians as a tool to whitewash the occupation.”

Salman was responding to comments made by Netanyahu on Sunday at the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem, a gathering of Christian journalists from around the world.

In his speech Sunday, Netanyahu said that “Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community thrives and grows,” and criticized the treatment of Christians by the Palestinian Authority.

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Fr. Davide Meli defends Masters thesis in Sacred Theology at Pontifical Lateran University in Rome

Posted on Oct 15, 2018

ROME – On Thursday, October 11 , 2018, Fr. Davide Meli, a priest of the Latin Patriarchate defended his thesis for Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. His presentation was on the “Ad Limina” Visits of three Latin Patriarchs in 1877, 1893 and 1913.

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Samia Khoury: YWCA of Palestine International Youth Conference

Posted on Oct 13, 2018

by Samia Khoury

The Young Women’s Christian Association of Palestine (YWCA), a member of the World YWCA, is holding its international conference on Youth this weekend based on UN Security Council Resolution 2250. The resolution which was adopted on Dec. 9, 2015, emphasizes the importance of youth as agents of change in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. So the slogan of the conference is  “Youth participate, and Youth decide; Toward Freedom and Justice.” Youth from Gaza were also able to attend through video conference linked with the YMCA of Gaza. I was at the opening session yesterday, and felt so proud of this organization which has been so close to my heart and where I had spent many years of my volunteer work. I wish I could have stayed throughout the conference sessions, but physically I cannot cope anymore. I could not even attend the special reception in the evening marking 125 years on the establishment of the YWCA of Palestine. Quite a long and rich history.

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Shaded sports and recreational area project completed in Latin Patriarchate School in Gaza

Posted on Oct 12, 2018

GAZA – It is the last project of El-Zaitoun Latin Compound Master Plan to be completed. The new shaded sports and recreational area will allow students to play and spend quality time in a safe space.

Since 2014, many rehabilitation projects have been launched at El-Zaitoun Compound to repair the damages and destruction caused by the last war in Gaza. The sports and recreational area is the last project to be completed. In the past, the floor of this area was damaged, and accidents occurred often. The area also lacked appropriate playgrounds for the different sports. Restrooms were broken and there were no changing rooms for students and sport teachers.

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APN to Israel’s Government: Let Lara Alqasem In!

Posted on Oct 12, 2018

APNby Ori Nir October 11, 2018

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on the government of Israel to permit entry into Israel to Lara Alqasem, an American of Palestinian descent who received a student visa from an Israeli consulate in the US to undertake a master’s program at Hebrew University.

Alqasem was detained upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport and has been held by Israeli authorities for over a week pending appeal of the order to deport her. The basis for the detention apparently was information published about Alqasem by the Canary Mission, a shadowy website that seeks to intimidate critics of Israel by hurting their future job prospects. The Canary Mission highlighted Alqasem’s past membership in Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization that advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel. Alqasem headed a tiny chapter of SJP at the University of Florida, which focused on boycotting an Israeli brand of hummus sold in the United States.

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Morning life and resilience under occupation – EAs witness checkpoints in Jerusalem and the West Bank

Posted on Oct 12, 2018

World Council of Churches

Image: People of all ages wait at the Qalandiya checkpoint, the main connection between the northern West Bank and Jerusalem. All photos: Albin Hillert/WCC

People of all ages wait at the Qalandiya checkpoint, the main connection between the northern West Bank and Jerusalem. All photos: Albin Hillert/WCC

By Albin Hillert*

At 4.45, the Qalandiya checkpoint is already crowded, as thousands upon thousands of Palestinians try to make their way to Jerusalem each day.

Qalandiya is the main checkpoint between the northern West Bank and Jerusalem, and ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) from the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) visit regularly in the early mornings.

Their task is to be an international presence and to show solidarity, offer basic support to anyone denied passage, and collect documentation of the situation at the checkpoint.

EAs’ reports feed into the UN system, providing ongoing monitoring of the human rights situation in Israel and Palestine.

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Canary Mission is *extremely* serious

Posted on Oct 10, 2018

My name is Ari Kaplan. Last winter I was a college freshman when I got a text saying I’d been put on Canary Mission. It scared me so much I had a panic attack.

Canary Mission is a spooky blacklist that profiles college kids and calls us anti-semitic racists for taking part in Palestinian activism. They want to ruin our reputation so we can’t get jobs. It’s messed up.

Now it’s just been revealed Canary Mission has been secretly bankrolled to the tune of $100,000 by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco.

I don’t care how much anyone wants to support Israel, this is ridiculous! So JVP is starting a petition to the Jewish Federations of North America now demanding they publicly condemn Canary Mission, and commit to never coordinating with or funding it.

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Breaking the Silence about Israel’s occupation of Hebron

Posted on Oct 10, 2018

Image: Israeli soldiers escort Ido Even-Paz and his Breaking the Silence tour through the West Bank city of Hebron on September 27,2018. Heidi Levine for The National

Israeli soldiers escort Ido Even-Paz and his Breaking the Silence tour through the West Bank city of Hebron on September 27,2018. Heidi Levine for The National

by Jonathan Cook | The National

Ido Even-Paz switched on his body camera as his tour group decamped from the bus in Hebron. The former Israeli soldier wanted to document any trouble we might encounter in this, the largest Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank.

It was not Hebron’s Palestinian residents who concerned him. He was worried about Israelis – Jewish religious extremists and the soldiers there to guard them – who have seized control of much of the city centre.

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Traces of ISIS might be disappearing but the Yazidi continue to suffer

Posted on Oct 10, 2018

Image: A Yazidi family in a temporary shelter in Iraq. (Kevin Clarke)

A Yazidi family in a temporary shelter in Iraq. (Kevin Clarke)

by Kevin Clarke, America Magazine, The Jesuit Review

America Editor’s note: Today’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is Nadia Murad, a 24-year-old Yazidi woman who advocates on behalf of her community and survivors of genocide. She was among the thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted and enslaved by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). Read her statement here. 

There are probably few things as useless at a camp for people who are refugees in their own country than a journalist. I.D.P.s, or internally displaced people as they are known in the humanitarian trade, surely have enough on their plates without having to play host to bumbling Westerners landing among them to rubberneck their suffering.

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Iraq diary: Drinking sweet tea in West Mosul

Posted on Oct 9, 2018

Image: Signs of normal live are slowly returning to the ruins of Mosul. (Kevin Clarke)

Signs of normal live are slowly returning to the ruins of Mosul. (Kevin Clarke)

by Kevin Clarke, America Magazine, The Jesuit Review

Around us the rubble of West Mosul throws a fine white dust into the air that coats your clothing and grits your hair, covers your shoes and camera lens, and gets into just about everything else. I find myself briefly wondering what percentage of my newly acquired coating of Mosul particles represents vaporized human remains. But people were not the only things destroyed in this part of the Old City of Mosul, in northern Iraq.

Just a few blocks away, centuries of Muslim, Chaldean, Syriac Orthodox and Catholic and Armenian places of worship are now little more than piles of debris and gravel and dust. Some ornate door arches remain as depressing reminders of the church architecture that used to stand here, a clutch of faiths located together in the Old City.

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Trump’s decision to isolate Palestinians is threatening a humanitarian crisis

Posted on Oct 9, 2018

Image: Palestinian refugee students stand outside a classroom in Beirut, Lebanon, on Sept. 3. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Palestinian refugee students stand outside a classroom in Beirut, Lebanon, on Sept. 3. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

by Kevin Clarke, America Magazine, The Jesuit Review

Trump administration reversals of longstanding U.S. policy aimed at mitigating 70 years of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians accelerated in August and September. Fulfilling a campaign pledge, the administration broke ground this year on a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, and in August it canceled its $350 million annual contribution to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, known as Unrwa, creating a $217 million budget shortfall for the agency and an instant humanitarian crisis for a region already overloaded with them. By mid-September all U.S. assistance to Palestinians, including funding for a $10 million U.S.A.I.D. “coexistence” program that brought Israeli and Palestinian schoolchildren together, had been terminated.

The near-term impact threatens to be “catastrophic,” said Hillary Dubose, the Catholic Relief Services Gaza representative, commenting by email.

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Maryknoll: Oslo Accords

Posted on Oct 5, 2018

The Oslo Accords were signed in Washington, D.C. on September 13, 1993, with great hopes that a process had begun to make it possible for two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, to share to share one land with security and peace. However in the words of Amos Levi: “The Oslo Accords have perpetuated the occupation. They have given Israel another 25 years at least of uncontrolled settlement activity and brutal occupation – maybe even another 50, maybe even 100, maybe the eternity of apartheid.” Much has changed, however, but not for the better

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A new kindergarten breathes life into a devastated Iraq community

Posted on Oct 4, 2018

Image: Students attend a new kindergarten in Qaraqosh, Iraq. (Kevin Clarke)

Students attend a new kindergarten in Qaraqosh, Iraq. (Kevin Clarke)

by Kevin Clark | America Magazine

Many of the children in this kindergarten in Qaraqosh, Iraq, were infants when Daesh stormed this Christian city in the early morning hours of Aug. 7, 2014. They are lucky that way at least; they will never remember the night of terror their parents and other family members experienced as they fled the city. Hundreds of families, more than 200,000 from villages across the Nineveh Plains, escaped in those frantic hours—some just minutes ahead of Daesh, as everyone in this city near the border with Iraqi Kurdistan calls the Islamic militants known as ISIS in the West. They fled packed in cars and trucks; less fortunate ones fled on foot.

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‘Donor fatigue’ among the threats to Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan

Posted on Oct 4, 2018

Image: Mass for Iraqi Christian refugees at Our Lady of Peace Center on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital, Amman, in January 2016. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak) 

Mass for Iraqi Christian refugees at Our Lady of Peace Center on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital, Amman, in January 2016. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak)

by Matthew Petti | America Magazine | July 6, 2018

AMMAN—Although the war against the Islamic State is drawing to a close, thousands of Christian families from Iraq remain displaced in neighboring Jordan, where the Christian community is struggling through “embassy and donor fatigue” to provide basic pastoral and material services to Iraqi refugees.

The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a papal agency, provides food aid and sponsors educational programs for these refugees in Amman, the capital of Jordan. In a country already coping with millions of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, however, many Iraqi Christians wish to permanently resettle elsewhere.

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Discovering Mother Mary in northern Iraq after ISIS

Posted on Oct 2, 2018

Image: “Mother Mary” gazes serenely down on the traffic fuming and stalling around her in Ankawa, a suburb of Erbil. (Kevin Clarke)

“Mother Mary” gazes serenely down on the traffic fuming and stalling around her in Ankawa, a suburb of Erbil. (Kevin Clarke)

by Kevin Clark | America Magazine

A giant industrial generator rages behind her—the power is out again and noisy generators on street corners around the district are roaring into action—but Maryamana, “Mother Mary,” gazes serenely down on the traffic fuming and stalling around her in Ankawa, a suburb of Erbil. Travelers visiting Iraqi Kurdistan for the first time may be surprised by the giant statue of the Virgin Mary at this busy square not far from the U.S. consulate, but Erbil is known for its ethnic and religious diversity, and Ankawa is a largely Christian community.

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What was wrong with both speeches?

Posted on Sep 29, 2018

On Thursday,  September 27, 2018, both the Palestinian President Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the United Nations  General Assembly. 

by Samia Khoury

Samia Khoury presenting a copy of her book to Pope Francis during his visit to Bethlehem in 2014

Every time I listen to speeches like those, I keep hoping against hope that something new or fresh might come up to uplift our morale and truly give us reason to look forward to better days.  Of course it was necessary for president Abbas to draw the attention of the assembly that the USA has not been  an honest broker to the peace process, because they turned a blind eye to the violations of Israel to all the agreements signed with Israel.  He  announced that the Palestinians are not willing to continue  committing themselves to agreements that Israel has not kept, including the recognition of Israel, while Israel refuses to recognize Palestine or its right to self-determination.  He criticized the recently passed  Nation State Law, which actually has been criticized by many Jews inside and outside the State of Israel.  However it was very out of place for Mr. Abbas to carry the conflict with Hamas to the International Arena.  This is something that he should deal with on the local scene and if any help is needed it should be solved in the Arab Summit meetings. 

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By Razing Khan al-Ahmar, Israel will Bulldoze Illusions of Peace Process

Posted on Sep 27, 2018

Photo by TrickyH | CC BY 2.0

by Jonathan Cook

Israel finally built an access road to the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar last week, after half a century of delays. But the only vehicles allowed along it are the bulldozers scheduled to sweep away its 200 inhabitants’ homes.

If one community has come to symbolise the demise of the two-state solution, it is Khan al-Ahmar.

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Solidarity sukkah in Khan al-Achmar

Posted on Sep 27, 2018

 

 

May we all dwell in our homes and temporary structures in peace and faith in G-d’s protective presence.

This evening Rabbis for Human Rights gathered at Bedouin-Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar, currently under the threat of demolition, for an open meeting to express our solidarity with them and discuss the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Succah (temporary shelters built during the holiday), Judaism and Jerusalem, the coming start of the Simchat Torah holiday, and our hopes for the New Year. The gathering was led by Rabbi Levi Weiman- Kelman, President of Rabbis for Human Rights..

 

This year we, Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), are setting up our sukkah in Khan al-Achmar in a show of solidarity against the threatened demolition of the village. Come, build & sit with us! The residents are waiting for us.

This Sukkot, we are all the Jahalin Bedouin of Khan al-Achmar!

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Escalation in Khan al Ahmar – email Congress to urge their action to save Palestinian Bedouin village

Posted on Sep 27, 2018

 

Last Sunday, heavily armed Israeli soldiers entered the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar to deliver notice to each family requiring them to “self demolish” their own homes — and their school — by Monday, October 1st. The bizarre notice read as follows:

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U.S.-Israeli Shared Values: Religious Fundamentalism and War Crimes

Posted on Sep 25, 2018

On Monday Religious Jewish and Christian fundamentalists celebrated the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem while Israeli forces fired live ammo at unarmed women, children, journalists, first responders and bystanders for being near the barbed wire fence that separates Gaza from Israel.

From recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to withholding money from the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees, to pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, Mr. Trump’s political prizes for Zion negates the pain of Nakba and is clearly driven by Trump’s tribe of Christian fundamentalists masquerading as evangelicals.

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Summer Camps in Holy Family Parish in Gaza: escaping tensions of daily life

Posted on Sep 25, 2018

by Rula Shomali, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Sept.18, 2018

GAZA – Summer vacations are considered to be the time that students spend to relax and decompress without any study pressure. But it can also be a time of personal growth and development if used wisely. Many families around the world choose different destinations to spend the hot summer days in; going to the beach, visiting extended families, or spending time reading under the rays of the sun. Yet, summer camps in the Gaza Strip are crucial social programs for children to live their normal childhood despite constant tensions and life adversities.

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Wallwritings – Ramzy Baroud: “My people will never accept this.”

Posted on Sep 25, 2018

Image: The picture above of second-grade student Ramzy Baroud appeared in Al Jazeera though the courtesy of the Baroud family.

The picture above of second-grade student Ramzy Baroud appeared in Al Jazeera though the courtesy of the Baroud family.

by James M. Wall

The Israelis want the Palestinians to give up their right of return in order to get “peace”. The joint Israeli-American “vision” for the Palestinians basically means the imposition of apartheid. My people will never accept this.

This statement from Ramzy Baroud comes from his essay, “Diary of an UNRWA Kid”, which appeared in Al Jazeera, and is now circulating on the international internet.

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Palestinian Christians: Volunteers empower work on the ground

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

Professor Mazin Qumisiyeh writes in the Palestinian Christians newsletter.

The relentless attack on lives and livelihoods of the native Palestinians goes on. I am so glad that some of us try to counter all the negativity with some solid positive and empowering work on the ground. I am so proud of the team and volunteers at our Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability for their hard work and dedication.

This is a team that has grown significantly in the past few weeks. Partly this is due to donations from many individuals and also to our success in getting grant support (from National Geographic, Darwin Initiative, Rotary, British Council, City of Geneva, and many more). I continue to be mostly a volunteer (getting a small amount from part-time teaching and consulting).

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Summer newsletter 2018 of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

Order of the Holy Sepulcher

The Summer newsletter of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher is now available. It addresses several meetings, participation and reflections starting with the historical meeting in Bari between His Holiness Pope Francis and the Patriarchs of the Oriental Churches. It also highlights the importance of the Eastern Christians’ testimony in the Holy Land, the different reflections from its members and the projects financed by the Order. Lastly, it covers the Order’s participation in the World Meeting of Families in Ireland.

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