Detroit Christians came out in force to hear how they can assist the Christians in the Holy Land remain in their homeland despite living conditions brought about by military occupation that encourage them to emigrate. “The response was more than overwhelming,” according to Rateb Rabie, KHS, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, a cosponsor of the three day symposium.
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)*
Holy Land Christian Support Network (HCSN)
Holy Land Christians receive major commitment from Detroit Christians
Detroit Christians came out in force to hear how they can assist the Christians in the Holy Land remain in their homeland despite living conditions brought about by military occupation that encourage them to emigrate. “The response was more than overwhelming,” according to Rateb Rabie, KHS, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, a cosponsor of the three day symposium. “In some respects we were preaching to the choir but the differences this time were the programs that are available through HCEF that gave attendees a practical way in which they could uplift the spiritual and aid the material lives of Holy Land Christians.” George Khoury, a long time peace and justice activist and chairman of the HCEF Committee in the Detroit area said, “One of the first jobs we have to get done quickly is to help fulfill Adam Cardinal Maida’s commitment to sponsor 1000 school children in the Holy Land to assure that their Christian and secular education continues despite the military occupation.” Father Alex Kratz, Associate Pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Southfield and Child Sponsorship Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Detroit, is responsible for developing the Child Sponsorship Program to its fullest potential in the Detroit area. Dan Piepskowski, Director of Christian Services for the Archdiocese of Detroit, has been the key person in the Archdiocese who advanced the development of the Child Sponsorship Program and the three-day symposium on the Christians in the Holy Land. Major newspaper , radio and TV Media covered the event.
The Archdiocese of Detroit and HCEF cosponsored the session on September 26 at St. Mary’s Seminary in which more than 150 clergy and lay leaders of the Archdiocese attended to hear a number of prominent people speak about the condition of Christians living under a brutal military occupation. The Mayor of Ramallah, Palestine, the Honorable Ayoub Rabah, spoke about the results of the Israeli invasion, siege, curfews, checkpoints, destruction of infrastructure, killed and injured Palestinian men, woman and children. Wisam Salsaa, a young Palestinian Christian youth leader, spoke about his experiences while living under occupation. The next day at the St. John’s Armenian Apostolic Church, a group of 25 religious leaders (Catholic, Presbyterian, Maronite, Melkite, Orthodox, Church of Christ, and Lutheran) belonging to the Metropolitan Christian Council: Detroit-Windsor gathered to discuss how they could assist HCEF to bring succor to the suffering Christians in the Holy Land. Father Alex Kratz, OFM, who recently returned from a fact finding mission to the Holy Land, and the Honorable Ayoub Rabah spoke about the conditions that Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land endure while living under Israeli occupation. On Saturday, September 28, at Saint Mary Antiochian Christian Orthodox Church in Livonia, sponsored, along with HCEF and HCSN, a symposium of Arab Christian community leaders to discuss their new role as activists, and ways and means Arab Christians, in partnership with HCEF, can assist in the support of HCEF programs in Child Sponsorship, job creation and economic development, pilgrimage and emergency aid for the Holy Land Christians.
On Saturday evening, a group of 250 activists for peace in the Holy Land gathered at Madonna University for a dinner during which Adam Cardinal Maida and Ramallah Mayor, Ayoub Rabah, spoke about the importance of supporting our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. Everyone agreed that unless aid and support is forthcoming, the descendents of the first Christians living in the Holy Land will become and extinct species in the near future. Should this happen, the 2000 year long legacy of Christian presence in the Holy Land will be lost and the Christian Holy Sites will become museums devoid of Christians to worship in them.
*The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, committed to improving the lives of Christians in the Holy Land through building bonds of solidarity with between Christians in the United States and Christians in the Holy Land. We have two goals: inform Americans about the Christians in the Holy Land and provide humanitarian assistance for the needy in the land where Jesus Christ was born, preached, died and rose again. HCEF, 6975 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20815 (301)951-9400, Toll Free (866) 871-4234, www.hcef.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org