HOLY LAND – From January 16- 21, 2021, the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination will hold their annual meeting which aims to express solidarity and support for the Church and Christians of the Holy Land. This year, and due to the restrictions that resulted from the spread of COVID-19, the bishops will not be able to visit the Holy Land and instead will meet virtually through the video conferencing app Zoom.
The program of the meeting will start with a session with Mr. Sami El-Yousef, Chief Executive Officer of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, who will give an overview of the current situation in the Holy Land and the effects of COVID-19 on people. His Beatitude Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and His Excellency Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio, will also address the bishops. As the Coordination does every year, a meeting with members of the Christian community in Gaza will take place. The final day will concentrate on the role of education and young people in Israel and Palestine.
Prayer with the local Christian communities is an important part of the visit. Therefore, live broadcastings of Holy Masses in Latin Patriarchate parishes are scheduled.
It is worth noting that the Holy Land Coordination has been visiting the people and Church of the Holy Land since 1998, focusing on what they call the 3 “P’s”: Prayer, Pilgrimage and Pressure (or Persuasion). A fourth P could be added which is Presence.
Prayer is the celebration of Holy Masses with the local communities and sometimes in the different rites that exist in the Holy Land.
Pilgrimage is the visiting of bishops to the Holy Land and their encouragement of people in their countries to make pilgrimage to the land where Jesus once lived and walked. Since March 2020, pilgrimage to the holy sites in the Holy Land has stopped as a result of COVID-19.
Pressure or persuasion is the work that the bishops do when they return to their countries. This involves talking to their governments, among others, about the issues and problems that affect the lives of Christians in the Holy Land.
Presence; the presence of the bishops amid the Christians of the Holy Land is a reminder that they are not forgotten by people in other parts of the world.
Source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem