Heads of the churches in Jerusalem and the U.S. will, via video conference, address the Plenary Session of The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s 12th International Conference, which will be held Friday-Saturday, November 5-6, 2010 at The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC. The speakers are Br. Peter Bray, FSC, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, the Most Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, and Fr. Emil Salatya of the Latin Patriarchate.  Fr. Drew Christiansen, SJ of America Magazine will moderate the panel.


The panel, ‘Religious Leaders Speak’ will take place on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 9:00 am.  The speakers will review the current situation in the Holy Land, its impact on the churches, and the challenges faced by the Christian community there. They will discuss ongoing initiatives spanning all faith communities to promote peace and human security in the Holy Land.


Brother Peter Bray, FSC is Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, the first university established in Palestine and the only Catholic university in the Holy Land. He has distinguished himself over 30 years as an educator, consultant, administrator, and university leader serving in Australia, the U.S., Turkey, England, Ireland and the Philippines. Previously, he was Director/CEO of the Wellington Catholic Education Center in New Zealand where he was instrumental in forming the educational partnership with the Australian Catholic University. He has served as a member of the Wellington Archdiocesan Synod Organizing Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees for De La Salle College, Auckland in his native New Zealand. He was a member of the Australian Council for Educational Administration and elected member of the Provincial Council of the De La Salle Brothers in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Most Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, was elevated to that office in 2004 by the Holy See. Born in Bergamo, Italy he entered the Franciscan novitiate at La Verna in 1984.  Following his solemn profession in the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) in 1989, he was ordained priest in 1990. He obtained the BA in Theology from the Pontifical Institute Atheneum Antonianum in 1990 and the Licentiate in Theology from the Franciscan Biblical Institute (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum) in Jerusalem in 1993, and is engaged in doctoral studies there. During 1993-99 he studied modern Hebrew and semitic languages at Hebrew University. With M. Pazzini, he published the Rite of the Mass in Hebrew. He has translated liturgical texts for the Hebrew speaking Catholic communities in Israel. Since 1998, he has been the Assistant Professor at the Biblical Institute and the Theological Institute Hierosolymitanum, teaching courses on biblical Hebrew and Judaism. He has also served as parish vicar in Jerusalem and general assistant to the Latin Patriarch for ministry to Hebrew speaking Catholic communities in Israel. Since 2001 he has been Superior of the Friary of Sts. Joachim and Anne in Jerusalem, the President of the Commission for Evangelization and a member of the Commission for Judaism and Islam of Custos.

Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J. is Editor-in-Chief of America, a Catholic weekly magazine.  He is one of HCEF’s co-founders and he continues to serve on the Advisory Board of HCEF. He was Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 1991-1998. He served as counselor to the USCCB on Middle East Affairs until 2005. He has been a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center and is on the faculty of Georgetown University. He is the author of more than 150 articles on ethics, Catholic social teaching, and public policy. He is the co-author of Forgiveness in International Politics: An Alternative Road to Peace.


Fr. Emil Salayta born in Madaba, Jordan, is the Head of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal Court of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and a co-founder of HCEF.  He also serves as an advisor to the Patriarchate on international relations. Since ordination, he has served as parish priest, educator and community leader. He was pastor of the St. Joseph Parish in Jifna. He served as director of its grade school and the high school in Ramallah in the Northern West Bank serving both Christian and Muslim youth. He has also been a teacher at the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala and at Christ the King Church in Amman, Jordan. He founded the Birzeit housing initiative for Christian families. From 1994-2001, Fr. Salayta was the Director General of the Educational Department of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. For the past 11 years beginning with the partnership between the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC and Our Lady Queen of Peace parish in Birzeit, he has been expanding these church partnerships throughout the U.S.


For complete details of the conference, speakers and associated venues, please visit the HCEF website: www.hcef.org or click on these helpful links:

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