Under the auspices of His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington,The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC buzzed with distinguished clergy, leaders and guest who attended the HCEF organized Celebratory Reception held in honor of His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal on the evening of Thursday, June 30, 2011.
This very special Celebratory Reception was held to not only welcome His Beatitude to the United States, but to also provide opportunity for Americans to hear more about the American University of Madaba, a new initiative of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. His Beatitude also shared his excitement regarding American University of Madaba, which will open its doors to for the first time this October! This is a tremendous and significant step in strengthening education and providing greater opportunity to make a positive impact in bringing peace and prosperity to the region.
Following the distinguished, gracious welcome and invocation by HE Cardinal Wuerl and the opening remarks warmly shared by Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, HCEF President and CEO, His Beatitude shared from his heart regarding the current reality in the Holy Land, why this is a critical moment in time and how we can, as external agents, participate and take advantage of such a moment in time. HB encouraged us to:
1. Pray to our common God to insure our common coexistence and our common peace in this common geographic space in our common Holy Land, and our common Holy City Jerusalem
2. Connect, understand and be in communion with the Christians who live there, as well as reflect and consider your responsibility towards your Mother Church, and
3. Educate your communities, remembering that the majority of the people, both Israelis and Palestinians, long for peace.
Esteemed guests included HE Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, Amb.MaenAreikat, Chief Representative, PLO Delegation to the U.S.,and other Arab Diplomats, clergy, leaders of churches, NGO’s and other organizations.
In 2008, during his visit to the United States as the newly installed Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude exhorted us to ‘not leave him alone’ in this effort to support the presence of the Christians of the Holy Land. During his opening remarks, HCEF President and CEO Rateb Rabie, KCHS thanked Cardinal Wuerl for his bulwark support, through the Archdiocese of Washington, on behalf of the Christians of the Holy Land, and for his consistent and strong efforts in coming alongside His Beatitude and ‘Not leaving him alone.’ Additionally, Mr. Rabie expressed how honored HCEF was to organize this visit for HB. With deep admiration and respect for His Beatitude, Mr. Rabie applauded His Beatitude with these words, “The Patriarch, my very own shepherd, continues to be tireless in his pastoral outreach to parishioners in the Diaspora, and his efforts to encourage peace and justice, and in garnering support for the oppressed and the needy. Truly he is a man after God’s own heart.”
His Beatitude ended with an exhortation for us to ‘Remind people that every man, woman and child who lives there today, is created in the image of God, is endowed with inherent dignity and is worthy of respect. To ignore the dignity of the other- whether the other be Christian, Muslim or Jew, is to live in violation of God’s will for us.’
Following the reception HB gave an audience for HE Ronald Precup, KC*HS, Lieutenant, and the Knights and Ladies of the Middle Atlantic Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
To view the His Beatitude’s complete speech or to learn more about HCEF and its programs, visit us at www.hcef.org.