One thousand Arab Christian children will cross borders, bridges, checkpoints and boundaries from Israel, Palestine and Jordan in their first ever pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Organized by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)
One thousand Arab Christian children will cross borders, bridges, checkpoints and boundaries from Israel, Palestine and Jordan in their first ever pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This trip is the third of its kind organized by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) to bring Jerusalem, the city, its holy places, and its people into the lives of young Arab believers.
In a rare coincidence, all the churches of Jerusalem celebrated the resurrection of Christ the Lord on the same date for Easter this year. While believers from all over the world could enter Jerusalem to celebrate the resurrection of the Son of God, who defeating death and proclaimed liberty to all, the local Arab Christian community was barred from participating. Jerusalem was once open to all, a city of communion for all the faithful, but is now partitioned into a city of walls.
HCEF Country Representative George Ghattas commented, “The Children`s presence will prove that the Diocese of Jerusalem – the Mother Church – should be open to all Christians around the world, including its own parishioners in Jordan, Palestine and Israel” . Only a few hundred people are granted permits to celebrate Easter in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher annually.
This year`s Journey to Jerusalem is special because children between the ages of 13 and 15 from the Galilee in Israel will come together with children from Amman, Irbid, Smakieh, Kerak, Fuheis and Zraka form Jordan and children from Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, and Bethlehem in Palestine. They will join in an ecumenical march and a prayer for peace. The children, accompanied by church leaders and clergy, will process together from outside the city of Jerusalem into its centuries-old walls.
HCEF, a nonprofit organization based in the US with a local office in Bethlehem, wants to help Arab Christian children stay in touch with their spiritual heritage. The Journey to Jerusalem will help the city and its holy places become a common experience for believers from across the region. To the majority of the children, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth have been no more accessible than the memories of their grandparents. Other communities are blocked by checkpoints and militarily imposed boundaries, often degrading important social links and local heritage, including relationship to the holy sites.
Sir Rateb Rabie, HCEF President, said, “This Journey to Jerusalem is a message to everyone that the two people, Israelis and Palestinians, and the three faiths, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, should live in peace and harmony and that no obstacle should come between them” .
HCEF is an ecumenical Christian organization endorsed by all of the Jerusalem Churches. Its programs are designed to maintain the Arab Christian presence in the Holy Land, especially in the face of regional violence, instability, and socioeconomic shocks.
This trip is organized by HCEF and supported by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, The Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Sahhar CPA Firm, and other churchs and private donors.
If you wish to support this Peace Journey please Click Here.
For further information visit: www.hcef.org