Contact: Jessica Rodgers
Washington – The Knights of Columbus Maryland State Council’s Holy Land Outreach Committee launched a historic initiative with the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) encouraging every council to sponsor Christian education for a Holy Land child. The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center hosted a Celebratory Reception in partnership with the Knights and HCEF, and Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi spoke as the guest of honor.
HCEF President Rateb Rabie, KCHS, made a strong appeal based on the need to help Arab Christian stay in the Holy Land. He said, “The Christian children of the Holy Land… are the future of the Holy Places. If they stay in the land and continue the Christian traditions that have been passed down since the time of the apostles, they will be the guardians of the incredible wealth church tradition, culture, and history in the Holy Land. If we allow the forces of despair, fear, insecurity, or isolation to force them out, we will have lost more than these few remaining children. We will have lost the Mother Church.
Sir Rateb Y. Rabie greeting John Paul II in Jerusalem
We will have lost the unique bridge Christians provide between their warring neighbors, and we will have lost these indigenous reflections of Christ, Prince of Peace, in the Holy Land.”
Archbishop Sambi declared, “The Holy Land is a special place for Christians, and as such it is important that our Church maintain a living presence there. One way to help assure this is to assist those already living in the Holy Land to remain there.” The Apostolic Nuncio was a catalyst to the formation of the Coordination Conference of the Presidents of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and North America, which met in support of the Holy Land Christians last week.
The reception a special viewing of the Holy Land Arab Christians: Faith and Culture exhibit, produced in partnership between HCEF and the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. Participants also had the opportunity to visit the Joy to the World: Global Nativities exhibit and the rest of the Cultural Center, which includes areas dedicated to Papal and Polish heritage, information about the Catholic Church around the world, and other artistic meditations on faithful living.
One Knight commented, “We are fully on board with this program – we hope to match every child sponsored by our council with personal sponsorships. We believe that this is really very important.”
HCEF looks forward to a successful partnership with the Maryland Knights of Columbus in aid to the Arab Christian children of the Holy Land.
For more information about the Child Sponsorship Program, please visit: Child Sponsorship Program