The money raised will go to Gaza communities as a “sign of solidarity”, said Patriarch Pizzaballa, to meet the needs that emerged during the brief war. Gaza’s Fr Romanelli is grateful that no member of the community “was hurt”, but the damage and the shock run deep. Spiritual and economic support is “important”.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa recently appealed for help on behalf of Christians living in the Gaza Strip affected by the recent armed conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The appeal goes to “all parishes and churches” in the Diocese of the Latin Patriarchate to devolve the “collection of Sunday May 30, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity” in “a sign of solidarity” to “our community in Gaza.”
Counting on donors’ generosity, the Patriarch said that the money raised will be used to meet the needs that “emerged after the war of the last few days”.
“In the aftermath of the tension and conflict we have recently experienced, let us turn our hearts and gaze to the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in Gaza and in places severely affected by the recent exchange of rocket firing for eleven days.”
For Patriarch Pizzaballa, “Their sufferings have worsened with the deadly clashes and bombings as they continue to struggle with COVID-19 that continues to spread in their area. I ask you to share some of your resources to alleviate the sufferings of our Christian faithful in Gaza.”
Gaza Christians have welcomed with joy the initiative of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, this according to Fr Gabriel Romanelli, the Argentinian-born priest of the Incarnate Word who heads the parish of the Holy Family in Gaza,
“We are quite well now,” he said speaking to AsiaNews. “We can say that we have benefited from the special protection of the Lord, because, despite very heavy bombing, no member of the community was hurt. The houses rocked like a crib, but it was no lullaby. . . only bombs.”
Fr Romanelli stressed that spiritual (and economic) support for the Christian community in the Holy Land “is important” through “prayers and sacrifices, so that we can continue to bear witness with hope, serenity and joy.”
“We aspire to a lasting peace but the latter is possible only on the basis of justice,” he explained.
In all this time, despite war and bombing, “we have not stopped staying connected, living in communion. Now lots of people are returning to church to pray and worship, and, as a Church, we are trying to help them at a material level.”
“We help everyone around us. Most of them are not Christians (they are Muslims), but we still want to be close to them because we are truly experiencing a real post-war period. The conflict may have lasted only 11 days, but it can change as well as destroy the lives of many people. Let’s not forget the more than 60 children who died.”
Finally, Fr Romanelli noted “the trauma and shock of many mothers and fathers, who have imprinted in their minds what they went through, the personal tragedy of bombs that fell close by, the broken windows, the fear. For now, the truce is holding, but people are afraid that violence could come back at any time”.