Latest News from Beit Sahour, July 22, 2014
Our dear friends, I hope you get this e-mail in health and doing well.
In this difficult time we go through here, in the Holy Land, I’m sending you our latest news, so we can stay close in mind and prayer.
In the 13th of May, we celebrated our feast; Lady of Fatima. Together in this occasion, we also celebrated the first communion and the sacrament of conformation for 50 children. The mass was presided by his Beatitude Patriarch, Fouad Twal; the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. It was a blissful day for our parish.
The blessings of the month continued with the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy land, and especially to Bethlehem. Our parish participated in the ceremony which took place in the Nativity Square in Bethlehem in May 25th. A delegation participated with the choir, and the others were a big part of the people there. As well as other delegations from other local churches those were invited. The holy visit was exceptional; it was an amazing historical one, full of blessings and glorious joy. His holiness prayed for peace, justice and equality, he prayed for faith to grow in our hearts and to live accordingly. His visit did not only took a spiritual dimension, but also a political one; he visited and prayed next to the apartheid wall in Bethlehem, he gave messages to us and to the whole world that he felt our daily sufferings from the occupation and the political situation that we; Palestinians, are suffering daily. In addition, his prayers, which were soothing and relieving, spread a sense of peace in our hearts, hoping this visit to be a cry for peace and justice in the Holy Land.
Furthermore, the blessings did not stop with the Pope’s visit, it continued with the unique and one of a kind visit of Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Al Rahi, The Maronite patriarch of Antioch and the entire East to the Holy Land. I invited him to meet the local church during his visit with the Pope, and we were honored and blessed that he accepted the invitation. While the scout were hitting the drums, the whole town, thousands of people has welcomed him in the company of his Excellency Bishop William Shomali; Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, Hany Hayek; the Mayor of Beit Sahour and other local priests from Bethlehem and Beit Sahour. The mass took place in our church in 27th of May. The church was over packed with our people from all over Palestine. His eminence enriched our faith and urged us to love our land and to resist to all challenges. He also, with his charismatic character, inspired us to stay united and to pray for love, peace and justice.
Moreover, in the last week of June, we held lively camps and activities for the summer time. First, the youth camp took place in our sport center and lasted for a week. Youth from many parishes in Palestine attended the camp. It was a successful camp under the slogan of love, acceptance and friendship. It was full of various activities that drew them closer to God and to church. The important camp took place a week after. 100 children from our parish with 20 volunteers in our sport center as well. The duration of “We are the Ambassadors of Love’’ camp was for a three weeks period, which also was a very successful camp with its volunteers, and various activities.
In addition, a new assistant was assigned to help us in our parish; Father Bashar Fawadleh. He celebrated his priestly ordination in the 12th of July of this year in Ramallah and he will be among us in Beit Sahour in August. We are looking forward to have him with us.
On the other hand, beside all the celebrations and the blessings that our parish received in the previous months, here come the difficulties that we face. The situation in Gaza and the West Bank is getting worse and insecure each day. Kids were killed, homes were demolished and many were exiled from their houses. The war effects are clearly shown; the tourism sector was harshly affected, which led to less jobs opportunities on other sectors.
Finally, we are asking you to remember us on your prayers with hearts full of hope in ending the war crimes in the Holy Land and in the world ask you to pray for the Christians, that are been persecuted daily for their Faith in Iraq, Syria and other countries. We ask God to grant them faith and comfort their hearts. Amen
Latin Church of Beit Sahour - Palestine