Bishops to visit the Holy Land in support of local Christians
3 months, 1 week ago
As in the previous four years, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, is joining a group of Roman Catholic Bishops on their pastoral visit to the Holy Land, taking place from 12th to 17th January. We'll be posting updates on our twitter page at twitter.com/southwarkcofe, so follow us there for more information.
The Holy Land Coordination have issed the following press release:
Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination will be making their annual visit in support of Christians in Israel and Palestine next week. This year, they will be focusing on the theme: “Christians in Israel; challenges and opportunities.”
The Holy Land Coordination is made up of Bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa, who have made an annual pastoral visit to Israel and Palestine for the past 20 years.
The Coordination’s annual meeting is taking place from 12th-17th January. The meeting will be held in the City of Haifa, including visits to Christian hospitals, schools and villages. The bishops will also take part in Inter-faith encounters.
Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Holy Land Coordination said: “We have come to stand in solidarity with Christian communities in the Holy Land, who are an important part of our family and make a rich contribution to society, both in Israel and Palestine, as we will see in visits to Christian schools, hospitals and in dialogue with local politicians.”
On the Sunday the Coordination will travel to the Palestinian town of Zababdeh to celebrate Mass with the local community. Zababdeh, where three quarters of the population is Christian, is located in the poor, under-developed and often overlooked Northern Region of the West Bank
While the Holy Land Coordination is not a fund-raising or project-based body, considerable development investment and growth in pilgrimages have developed directly as a result of the bishops’ visits. Prayer is the framework of the annual meeting, with daily celebration of the Eucharist, often in different rites.
The bishops visit Catholic communities and share in their Sunday liturgy, meeting with them. In difficult times, the visiting bishops have often heard pleas for more pilgrims to come from their home countries, and there has been a concerted and successful effort on the part of bishops’ conferences to encourage pilgrimages, assisting many whose livelihoods depend on pilgrims.
The bishops also speak at a high-level to their own governments, parliamentarians, Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors and the media about a wide range of issues affecting the lives of Christians. In line with the approach the Holy See adopts everywhere else, the bishops do not seek privileges for Christians, but dignity and justice for them and for others in similar conflicts.
The bishops are present every year, and through their presence they hope, above all else, to remind the “living stones” of the Christian communities in the Holy Land that they are not forgotten by their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.
For further information on the Holy Land Coordination go to https://theholyland.org.uk/