"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Patriarch Sabbah: ‘The epidemic is not a punishment for any sin’

Posted on Apr 4, 2020

FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2020

THE EPIDEMIC IS NOT A PUNISHMENT FOR ANY SIN

by Patriarch Michel Sabbah

About the epidemic too… Is it a punishment?

Some may ask this question: Is this epidemic a punishment from God for humanity, for its many evils, wars, injustices, famines, misuse of religion, discrimination between poor and rich and so on?

First, the epidemic is a normal consequence of human attitudes, the result of human science or ignorance. It is the result of peoples’ relationship with each other. Humanity has to face it with all its scientific capacities. The believers who seee God, face it with prayer, as well as turn to God, good, almighty and loving all humankind. Distress becomes a way back to God, a means of purifying oneself, coming closer to God, Creator, and to all one’s brothers and sisters in humanity.

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Is not the Corona pandemic enough?

Posted on Apr 4, 2020

by Samia Khoury of East Jerusalem

While the United Nations Secretary General is calling on all countries to silence the guns and focus on collectively saving humanity from this vicious pandemic that is ravaging societies around the globe, Israel finds it very timely to increase its oppression of the Palestinians under occupation.

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Palm Sunday at the Latin Patriarchate Co-Cathedral | Jerusalem 2020

Posted on Apr 4, 2020

Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020

11.00 am (Jerusalem Time) – Palm Sunday Celebration presided over by HE Mgr. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem, in the Latin Patriarchate Co-Cathedral, in Jerusalem. The Celebration will be in Arabic.

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(Virtually) Spend Easter in Jerusalem with Sabeel!

Posted on Apr 2, 2020

This Easter, join our Sabeel elders from Jerusalem as they share lessons of liberation and spiritual survival in the midst of continued dispossession, health crises and international chaos. Let us gather together to remember that just as Jesus died on the cross to reveal the eternal, divinity is revealed in the midst of physical destruction.

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HOLY LAND: Pastoral Guidelines for Holy Week following restrictions due to COVID-19

Posted on Mar 31, 2020

Livestreamed Triduum celebrations are certainly important and useful but can never replace the physical presence in the celebrations, which for us is constitutive. It is much more useful and fruitful for communities in pray in the family.

by Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin [Roman Catholic] Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world and in the territories of our diocese has resulted in serious and drastic limitations in our ability to participate in divine worship. Pastoral activities and especially the celebration of the sacraments have been largely suspended for several weeks, including participation in the Eucharistic celebration. As we have already said several times, it is a novelty that we have never experienced before and has challenged us to find new ways and forms for our celebrations. Holy Week will begin in a few days. It is the heart of the liturgical year, and even on this occasion, our chances of celebration will be very limited.

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Israeli Communities Unite Over Virus Response — Except for One

Posted on Mar 31, 2020

Seventeen percent of Israelis doctors, a quarter of nurses and almost half of all pharmacists are Arabs. These men and women have been on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 from the very start, witnesses to the epidemic.

Image: In Bnei Brak, the number of confirmed cases nearly doubled in the last three days, from 267 on Friday to 508 on Monday.

In Bnei Brak, the number of confirmed cases nearly doubled in the last three days, from 267 on Friday to 508 on Monday.Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

by Zev Chafets*

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Day after day, Israel toughens its measures to fight coronavirus. The measures are an escalating version of the same quarantine message. In a televised message on Wednesday night, a frustrated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it in blunt terms. “You must stay at home. Stay at home — stay alive.”

The religious and ethnic communities of Israel, divided in so much, now find themselves on the same side against a common enemy. Not all communities, however, are equally ready to shoulder the burden of compliance.

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Not since the Black Plague have Jerusalem’s holy alleys fallen so still

Posted on Mar 30, 2020

Image: Adeeb Joudeh, standing in front of the now-locked Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City (Photo Steve Hendrix, The Washington Post)

Adeeb Joudeh, standing in front of the now-locked Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City (Photo Steve Hendrix, The Washington Post)

By Steve Hendrix, Jerusalem bureau chief, The Washington Post

March 27, 2020 at 1:58 p.m. PDT

JERUSALEM — Adeeb Joudeh, standing in front of the now-locked Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City, had a pretty specific answer when asked when the church last closed to the public like this:

“It was the year 1349, at the time of the Black Plague,” he said, holding the key that had shut things down a day earlier and back in the 14th century as well.

They measure time differently here in the oldest section of one of the world’s oldest cities, the ancient, dispute-riddled and spiritually dense center of three major religions. Yet it takes an eternity to recall the last time Christians, Jews and Muslims, each claiming various overlapping quarters of the Old City, were kept from their eternal rounds.

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Celebrations at the Holy Sepulchre

Posted on Mar 30, 2020

 

“Following the evolution of the situation in the Holy Land, we, the leaders of the three communities to whom Divine Providence has entrusted the grace and honour of making the praise of God resound in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and of the Resurrection, wish to communicate that the celebrations of the three Greek-Orthodox, Latin and Armenian communities will continue regularly”.

The official note is signed by Brother Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, His Beatitude Theophilus III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and His Excellency Nourhan Manugian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

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Still at the beginning of a long journey

Posted on Mar 30, 2020

Regarding the pandemic, Rima Tarazi writes from Palestine

Needless to say that our thoughts are with all during these very difficult times in the history of the human race. I hope you are doing well and coping with the challenges as best as you can.

Living in the comfort zone of a century soaring with scientific and technological achievements, never, in our wildest dreams, did we foresee that a minute invisible virus could shake the very roots of our existence and our grand schemes for a better world.

Well, here we are, now, as helpless as crawling infants trying to uncover the mysteries of their world.

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BREAKING: First cases of Coronavirus reported in Gaza

Posted on Mar 21, 2020

It’s difficult enough to be in the U.S. during the COVID-19 outbreak. And when I think about the conditions in Gaza, I’m absolutely terrified for the Palestinians trapped there.

As of today, Israeli officials have only allowed 200 testing kits into Gaza. [1]

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Br. Patton: “Now we need the pilgrimage of prayer”

Posted on Mar 21, 2020

March 18, 2020

“There’s a time for everything under the sky,” says the Qoelet. A few weeks ago we reported a large number of pilgrims present in the Holy Land: their growth was clearly visible in the streets and Shrines.

A few weeks later, the situation and the statistics are quite different due to the spread of the Coronavirus also in Israel and Palestine. A drastic drop, recorded by the Franciscan Pilgrims’ Office in Jerusalem: The Office has cancelled all the masses booked by groups of pilgrims in all the sanctuaries of the Holy Land from March 12. Thousands of celebrations were still held in January and February, and by March their number dropped to zero.

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The Catholic schools in Gaza and the English language

Posted on Mar 21, 2020

February 18, 2020

It is from a school path as “open” as possible that the very small Christian community in Gaza tries to start again. The Catholic Institutes – the one run by the Sisters of the Rosary, and the two of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem – welcome about 2100 students, from kindergarten to high school. With one paradox: about 90% of them are Muslim. There are only 176 Christian students.

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With all eyes on Covid-19, refugee suffering continues in Greece, Turkey and Syria

Posted on Mar 21, 2020

by Kevin Clarke, America’s chief correspondent and the author of Oscar Romero: Love Must Win Out (Liturgical Press), March 19, 2020

With most global media and political attention fixed on the coronavirus pandemic, other significant humanitarian challenges have fallen out of focus, no matter how grave. Among them is the ongoing refugee dilemma on the Aegean islands of Greece and at the borders of Turkey.

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Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib will not seek re-election in order to join the Jesuits

Posted on Mar 21, 2020

Born to Iranian immigrants in Maryland, he is the first and only Iranian-American to hold statewide elected office.

by Zac Davis, associate editor for digital strategy at America and a host of the podcast “Jesuitical.”

Cyrus Habib, the lieutenant governor of Washington, will not seek re-election and is entering the Society of Jesus this fall, the lieutenant governor and the Society of Jesus confirmed to America on March 19.

“I’ve felt a calling to dedicate my life in a more direct and personal way to serving the marginalized, empowering the vulnerable, healing those suffering from spiritual wounds, and accompanying those discerning their own futures,” Mr. Habib wrote in an essay published in America, explaining his announcement.

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Social initiatives to deal with the Coronavirus in Bethlehem

Posted on Mar 20, 2020

The Coronavirus has paralyzed the lives of everyone in Bethlehem: schools, universities, institutions. There are thirty-nine cases: thirty-seven in the Bethlehem area and two in Tulkarem. Little Mila, only two years old, was the youngest infected in Palestine. Now that she has defeated the virus, it has given hope and reassurance to the inhabitants of the city.

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Palestinians Show the World How to Respond to COVID-19 Crisis

Posted on Mar 20, 2020

Palestinians have responded to COVID-19 with ingenuity and hospitality. They are using the resilience that has allowed them to thrive under the brutal Israeli Occupation, to survive the CoronaVirus.

Bethlehem, which has been the hardest hit by the virus, has taken numerous precautions that have stemmed the spread of the virus, while still showing great love and care for those in quarantine. People have carefully left food and drinks outside the Angel Hotel to show those in quarantine that they are not forgotten.

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First International Young Adult Gathering canceled for this year

Posted on Mar 18, 2020

Regarding the First International Young Adult Gathering to be held June 17-25, 2020: “We at Sabeel have decided that it is best to cancel the trip for this year due to the world-wide health crisis.”

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Six Feet of Separation During Coronavirus—How Arabs Will Cope with It

Posted on Mar 18, 2020

The Arab priest [in America] went on to say: “I want to assure you of my love and care for you. If you feel sick and you want me to come and pray for you or/and give you communion, I will be happy to do so.”

Image: Arabs in Church or Mosque–now because of the coronavirus parishioners have to be more careful in social distancing photo Arab church

Arabs in Church or Mosque–now because of the coronavirus parishioners have to be more careful in social distancing photo Arab church

By: John Mason/Arab America Contributing Writer

Arabs in their home countries have specific ways in which they use social space. These are quite different from traditional American patterns of body language. In the context of the growing coronavirus crisis in the U.S., health specialists are recommending the practice of social distancing.

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Coronavirus: latest updates from Jerusalem

Posted on Mar 18, 2020

By: Layal Hazboun / LPJ – Published: March 18 Wed, 2020By: Layal Hazboun / LPJ – Published: March 18 Wed, 2020

JERUSALEM – The Holy City of Jerusalem has been witnessing unprecedented circumstances in the last days. It is not merely empty of its pilgrims and visitors, but also of a large portion of its inhabitants, especially after the closure of schools (including Christian schools), institutes and universities, and the cancellation of all hotel reservations for the months of March and April, those months which usually witness a tremendous increase in the number of pilgrims coming from all over the world to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus in the Holy Land, which will affect the tourism sector including souvenir stores, tourism offices, hotels and restaurants.

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The sense of Place and Identity in Hebron, Palestine

Posted on Mar 16, 2020

In Hebron, a city of 200 000, there is the Old City of 30 000, where there are religious sites coveted by Zionist settlers, these under military cover are slowly but surely helping Israeli policies of settler-colonisation. OCHA has recently produced an excellent summary of the deteriorating situation in Hebron.

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Christians in Gaza—A Little-Known, Embattled Minority

Posted on Mar 16, 2020

By: John Mason/Arab
America Contributing Writer

The number of Christians in Gaza has been reduced to just about 1,000, while the number of Muslims is reaching close to 2 million. Still, the remaining Christians stay resilient, though the tendency is for the young people to want to emigrate. The Israeli embargo on Gaza has negatively affected Christians and Muslims in terms of their freedom to travel.

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Maria Khoury: “In one minute our whole life changed in Taybeh.”

Posted on Mar 15, 2020

by Maria Khoury of Taybeh, Palestine

May God protect you and keep you safe during these very challenging times on earth.

When my children keep saying wash your hands over and over, I want to remind them that during this Holy Great Lenten journey, we are supposed to ‘wash’ our hearts over and over. But, also it’s the first time I realize how many extra times I keep touching my face which they tell me not to with the coronavirus dictating our lives.

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A scholarship to stay in the Holy Land

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

GEORGE HLEIS
“I finished studying psychology last year at the Hebrew University… right there on the Mount of Olives.  My name is George, I’m 23 years old, I live in the Christian quarter of the Old Town, I’m a Catholic Christian.”

The objective is clear: to allow local Christians to study in their own land, to prevent them from deciding to move abroad to study and then, possibly, to live.

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Syriacs: Aramaic roots and Christian blooms

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

A mosaic of different traditions and religious communities is still flourishing in the Holy Land. The Syriac community is a part of this mosaic, and still preserves a culture rooted in the Aramaic language.

F BOUTROS NE’MEH
Syriac Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary

“The Syriacs are the Arams descended from Aram, son of Sem, who was the son of Noah, who lived in the area of Mesopotamia and the Levant for many years. They spoke Aramaic and lived there for many centuries, even before the birth of Christianity.

“When the Aramaeans became Christians, they took the name ‘Syriacs’ because they lived in Greater Syria.”

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From Bethlehem: We are grateful

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes from Bethlehem.

We are grateful for all who have written letters of concern, prayed for us, or thought about us. We are working hard and we thank those of you who asked about us.

Here in Bethlehem (Palestine), it has been 6 days in lockdown because of the COVID-19 cases. But the birthplace of Jesus in 2020 provided a message of hope to all humanity. So far and thanks to amazing people cooperation, only 37 cases in Bethlehem and one in Tulkarem but thankfully all related to known sources (the Greek Delegation that visited Bethlehem and a worker from Tulkarem who worked in an Israeli area).

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A Report from East Jerusalem

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

Adam Keller sends the following report on activity in East Jerusalem:

In recent weeks, contacts have taken place between residents of the Issawiya neighborhood and the city municipality in the hope that many years of official harassment of the neighborhood will be replaced with positive processes that will enable a safer and fairer life for its inhabitants. However, the Jerusalem District Police has been sabotaging such contacts and aims to preserve the regime of terrorizing and brutalizing the residents.

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Coronavirus: Bethlehem is closed down.

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

The city of Bethlehem suffers a new “siege” as never before in its long history. The Coronavirus has changed the lives of its inhabitants, especially following the restrictions imposed by the Palestinian government.

The Basilica of the Nativity, the beating heart of the city that, until a few weeks ago, welcomed hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, is now almost empty. Few priests have celebrated Sunday Mass: they wanted to offer intentions and prayers to the Lord so that He could spare the inhabitants of Bethlehem and the whole world from the anxiety and anguish of the Coronavirus.

The first outbreak appeared in the nearby town of Beit Jala: some Palestinian workers from the Angel Hotel who had come into contact with a Greek group who had stayed in the same hotel were found positive for the virus.

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We Are a People with a Name

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

Samia Khoury

by Samia Khoury of East Jerusalem, March 14, 2020

On top of all the generous gifts that the President of the USA, Mr. Donald Trump, gave to Israel in his deal of the century, the USA is now referring to the Palestinians of Jerusalem as non-Israelis.

Not much different from the letter of November 2, 1917 which Lord Arthur Balfour, Foreign Secretary of Great Britain at the time, wrote to Mr. Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, assuring him that “His Majesty’s government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

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Will humanity fail or rise to the challenge?

Posted on Mar 12, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes from Beit Sahor in his Palestinian Christians newsletter:

Will humanity fail or rise to the challenge?

Obviously human beings are being tested: pandemics spreading around the world (and after coronavirus, there will be others much more deadly), the collapse of oil prices that led to financial market collapses, the climate change (we have really 7 or 8 years left to make drastic changes in lifestyle to avoid the irreversible damage), the technology gone rampant and killings and nature (5G, chemical and biological weapons), the accelerating risk of nuclear war, and much more. How we deal with this as individuals and communities is really existential. There are bad signs and good signs. Let us give some examples of both and then of areas where we could go either way).

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Israeli forces kill Palestinian minor in West Bank

Posted on Mar 12, 2020

The bishops encouraged their own countries’ governments to find political solutions to the conflicts in the Holy Land, including: “insisting upon the application of international law; following the Holy See’s lead in recognizing the State of Palestine, addressing the security concerns of Israel and the right of all to live in safety, rejecting political or economic support for settlements, and resolutely opposing acts of violence or abuses of human rights by any side.”

.- Mohammed Hamayal, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, was shot and killed by Israeli troops Wednesday during a clash in the West Bank.

He was killed during a March 11 Palestinian protest of Israeli settlers near Beita, some 40 miles north of Jerusalem.

According to Israel, 500 Palestinians were rioting, setting tires on fire and throwing rocks at its security forces.

In response to the rock throwing, Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas, a witness told the BBC.

Images: Palestinians mourn the death of Mohammed Hamayel, 15, during his funeral in Beita in the West Bank, March 11, 2020, after he was shot by Israeli forces. Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images.

Palestinians mourn the death of Mohammed Hamayel, 15, during his funeral in Beita in the West Bank, March 11, 2020, after he was shot by Israeli forces. Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images.

According to Palestinian officials, another 17 people were injured in the clash.

The Israeli army said that “we are aware of a report regarding a killed Palestinian and several injured. The incident will be reviewed.”

Israeli settlers have been trying to gain control of a hill in the Beita area, according to Palestinians.

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