“A key purpose of our pilgrimage is to remind the Christian communities in the Holy Land that they are not forgotten by their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.” – Bishop McKeown
Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry, along with bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa will meet in the Holy Land over the coming days to promote dialogue and peace, while meeting young people.
This annual visit was set up 20 years ago at the invitation of the Holy See with the aim of visiting and supporting the Holy Land’s local Christian communities as they experience the political and socio-economic realities of living in Israel and Palestine.
This year the focus of the bishops’ pilgrimage will be on education and young people. It will involve a series of meetings and visits to promote the value of education for young people and the importance education has in building peace in the region. In addition to meeting students and young people from Gaza, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the bishops will also meet the Parents Circle – Families Forum, a body which brings together more than 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost a relation due to the prolonged conflict and who today, through various initiatives, support peace, reconciliation and tolerance.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem will also present to the bishops their aim to promote education as an instrument of peace and justice, followed by a series of visits to Christian schools administered directly by the Latin Patriarchate. In Emmaus-Qubeibeh, the bishops will visit a home for the elderly and will meet some young volunteers working there. Brother Peter Bray, Vice-Rector of the University of Bethlehem, will present the Qubeibeh Nursing Programme (QNP): a programme which offers job opportunities for young people in a largely rural area, with high levels of unemployment and many social and political problems.
This year the Holy Land Co-ordination 2018 will celebrate Sunday Mass on 14 January with the small Christian community in Gaza, followed by a visit to the House of Peace run by the Missionaries of Charity; a brief meeting with young Christians and a pastoral visit to the sick in the community.
The meeting is organised by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The programme open to the media is reproduced below. To join the bishops, to interview the visiting bishops or for further information please contact [email protected]/ 0044 (0)7983 704 097
Photographs will be available at www.catholicnews.org.uk
Notes for Editors
- The Holy Land Co-ordination, made up of bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa, was established 20 years ago at the invitation of the Holy See with the aim of visiting and supporting the Holy Land’s local Christian communities.
- The Co-ordination’s raison d’être can be expressed through the “3 Ps”: Prayer, Pilgrimage, Persuasion.
- Prayer is the framework within which the annual meeting takes place, with the daily celebration of the Eucharist, often in different Rites and with the local Catholic communities.
- Pilgrimage: The bishops go individually or in groups to visit the Catholic communities, meeting their members and at times local political figures, too. In difficult times, the visiting bishops have often listened to requests for a greater presence of pilgrims, and there has been a concerted and successful effort on the part of the Bishops’ Conferences to encourage pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
- Persuasion refers to the work undertaken after the annual meeting, when the bishops return home and speak to their own Governments, Members of Parliament, Israeli and Palestinian Ambassadors and to the media about a vast range of questions concerning the lives of Christians. In line with the approach adopted by the Holy See elsewhere, the bishops do not seek privileges for Christians, but dignity and justice for them and for others who live in similar conflict situations.
The following bishops will take part in the Holy Land Co-ordination:
Bishop Declan Lang (Clifton, England and Wales – Co-ordinator)
Bishop Lionel Gendron (Saint-Jean Longueuil, Canada)
Bishop Udo Bentz (Mainz, Germany)
Archbishop Riccardo Fontana (Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro, Italy)
Bishop Donal McKeown (Derry, Ireland)
Bishop Pierre Bürcher (Iceland)
Bishop Mgr José Ornela Carvalho (Setubal, Portugal)
Bishop William Kenney (Birmingham, England and Wales)
Bishop Nicholas Hudson (Westminster, England and Wales)
Bishop Christopher Chessun (Church of England, United Kingdom)
Bishop William Nolan (Galloway, Scotland)
Archbishop Joan-Enric Vives Sicilia (Urgell, Spain)
Archbishop Mgr Stephen Brislin (Cape Town, South Africa)
Bishop Mgr Dr. Felix Gmür (Basel, Switzerland)
Bishop Oscar Cantu (La Cruces, USA)
Operations Note – NOT FOR PUBLICATION
The programme open to the media to join the Bishops is as follows:
HOLY LAND COORDINATION PROGRAMME 2018
Sunday 14th January
10:00 Sunday Mass with the parishioners of Holy Family parish – Gaza
Brief visit to the House of Peace Missionaries of Charity – CRS project
Meeting with Christian young people Gaza
Pastoral visits to the sick and housebound Gaza
14:00 Depart the parish for the Erez Border
Monday 15th January
07:00 Melkite Divine Liturgy Melkite Cathedral
10:00 Arrive at the LPJ Beit Jala
Schools Administration Offices
Education – a way to peace and justice Beit Jala
Fr. Iyad Twal
Director of Education – Latin Patriarchate
Pastoral Visits to schools: Beit Jala; Beit Sahour; Bethlehem L’Arche
(3 separate groups)
16:30 Meeting with young people Hebrew University
Law students studying multiculturalism and diversity.
They look after legal cases for people who have been
Tuesday 16th January
07:15 Mass Jerusalem
Co-Cathedral Latin Patriarchate
Principal Celebrant – Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo
11:15 Visit to the Mor Jewish High School Makabim-Reut
17:30 Parents Circle Families Forum Knights Palace
Wednesday 17th January
09:30 Arrive Emmaus-Qubeibeh
Qubeibeh is one of the three villages that compete for being the biblical “Emmaus” of Luke 24. Next to QNP there is the Church of Cleopas, where the risen Lord is said to have had dinner with the two disciples.
Welcome to Qubeibeh Qubeibeh
Young volunteers, staff & residents
Visit the Home for the Elderly
10:15 Qubeibeh Nursing Programme (QNP) Qubeibeh
Br. Peter Bray
Vice Chancellor – Bethlehem University
The QNP is a good example of a programme that
gives perspectives and future job opportunities to young
people in a mainly rural area, with high levels of
unemployment and many social and political problems.
The level of excellence in QNP is high and since 2011
almost 100% of the graduates have found jobs
mainly in East Jerusalem.
12:00 Mass – Church of St. Cleopas Qubeibeh
Thursday 18th January
10:00 Mass – Blessed Sacrament Chapel Jerusalem
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Principal Celebrant – Bishop Declan Lang
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Katie Crosby 00353 (0) 86 862 3298