Close to the Christians. Visiting the HolyLand Coordination

Posted on Jan 18, 2019

18 January 2019 – The visit to the Christian communities in Northern Israel and the Northern Palestinian Territories helped the bishops who took part in the Holy Land Coordination to see “the great need” of promoting a fair peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

This year, the Coordination of the Holy Land, which includes bishops from North America, Europe and South Africa, visiting from 11th to 17th January, focused on challenges and opportunities for Christians in Israel. The bishops could visit Christian hospitals, schools and villages as well as meet the living stones.

HE Mgr TIMOTHY BROGLIO Military Archibishop – USA

The main reason for our visit was to see the experience of Christians in the Holy Land. It was nice to talk with the living stones who represent the church here in the Holy Land, (…) Being here, in this school, is a testimony of what can be done but also of what has been done.

MARIE DENNIS Co-chairwoman Pax Christi International – USA

Through Haifa and the other areas we visited, we saw people on both sides are trying to understand each other despite the tremendous differences. This is very positive, but discouraging at the same time, because they no longer feel much hope in solving their major problems (…)

The final message of the Coordination has three main points: solidarity with the Christians of Israel; human dignity under occupation and hope for the future. “We admire our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land who do not lose hope and we commit ourselves with prayer, pilgrimage and solidarity to help keep this hope alive.

HE Mgr LIONEL GENDRON Bishop of St Jean – Loungueil Quebec – Canada

This is the first time we spend more time in Israel and with the Palestinians who live there, both Christians and Muslims. We come here not to visit places but people, to listen to them and express our solidarity. On my way back to Canada, I will let people discover that there are Palestinians, 20% of the population, and that we must support them and show our solidarity.

The statement reads: “Going back to our countries of origin, we can hear the words of Pope Francis: You always know in your heart that God is at your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never let him die in our hearts!”

HE Mgr JOSE ORNELAS CARVALHO Bishop of Setubal – Portugal

Being part of this group, aiming to meet the Christian communities and to face the complicated situation, is at the same time a challenge for the whole church and for the whole world, as well as a great opportunity to be aware of the responsibilities we have in creating a world where we can talk about difficult topics but also find a common path.