HOLY LAND – On Friday, November 19, 2021, the General Secretariat of The Youth of Jesus’ Homeland – Palestine (YJHP), and the General Secretariat of the Youth Group in Jordan celebrated the Feast of Christ the King.
In Palestine, the celebration started from the Terra Santa School in Bethlehem where young people gathered from the West Bank, Galilee, and Jerusalem to discuss passages from the Bible that relate to the youth and their relationship with Jesus and his Holy Church.
Then, a Holy Mass was celebrated in the Church of St. Catherine. H.B Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, presided over the Mass, during which new members of the General Secretariat were appointed after accepting the resignation of the previous members who had served for 3 years.
Concelebrating the Mass were Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar Emeritus, as well as several priests and deacons, in the presence of about 600 young people from all over Palestine.
During the Mass, Fr. Bashar Fawadleh, Chaplain of YJHP, read the Patriarchal decree, in which he announced that Mrs. Nadine Bitar- Abu Sahlieh will serve as General Secretary, while Ms. Caroline Diab will be Deputy General Secretary for the next term, which will last three years.
At the end of the Mass, Rafi Ghattas, former General Secretary, gave a speech in which he emphasized the importance of work and of volunteering within the Church, especially with the youth. He called on Patriarch Pizzaballa to support the youth and present them with opportunities in order to preserve the Christian presence in Palestine. “Young people are the hope, present, and future, and we do not wish to be the last generation of Christians in the homeland of Jesus”, said Ghattas.
In his homily, the Patriarch thanked the former General Secretariat for all that it had provided, especially following the spread of the pandemic, pointing out that “this gathering, whose main goal is Jesus Christ, makes us proud of the Church’s youth”. He added: “We have to be responsible and committed to Jesus Christ, the Church, and others so that our service is constant, and we can therefore truly live the Kingdom of Christ on earth”.
After the Mass, the participants headed to the Bethlehem Convention Palace where Rafi Ghattas officially handed over the service of the position of General Secretary to Nadine, announcing the end of the role of the General Secretariat in its current session.
Ghattas also announced the launch of the new website of the General Secretariat, as well as an application for the youth entitled “YJPH”, to be available on all mobile devices.
For her part, Nadine gave a speech in which she thanked all members and the previous administration, reviewing her experience within the secretariat, which began in 2014, and said: “My dream and hope is to see the Youth of Jesus’ Homeland in every home, school, and parish, and to see the Bible in our hands, not just on the shelves. I aspire to reach every young man and woman who has been separated from the Church and youth groups by life, so that we may all become rooted in our land like olive trees that are rooted in the Church of Gethsemane, believing in our salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ”.
The meeting also featured a play about the great division between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, as well as a special show by the Douban Professional Dance Group about human diversity in the city of Jerusalem for hundreds of years. The celebration concluded with hymns sung by both the old and new members of the General Secretariat.
Whereas in Jordan, the General Secretariat of the Youth Group organized a meeting for the University and the Workers’ Groups, on the occasion of the feast of Christ the King, on Friday, November 19, at the Terra Santa College in al-Weibdeh.
The celebration started with a Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Jamal Khader, Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan, who focused in his homily on the fact that Christ does not want to be like the rest of the leaders of the world, but rather to preach the truth and bear witness to it, by the power of truth and not by the right of might.
The meeting included a play performed by the Apostles Youth Group, a lecture by Fr. Jamal entitled “What is your name, Our Lord?”, another lecture by Fr. Khaled Gammoh, head of priestly vocations at the seminary, as well as several games and informative activities.
And because we have all reasons for failure and all reasons for success, Fr. Wajdi Twal, newly appointed Chaplain of the youth group in Jordan, launched the slogan of the youth group for the year 2022, “Get up and stand on your feet” (Acts 26:16). The meeting concluded with a video summarizing the activities of the secretariat for the current year 2021.
On Monday, November 15, Fr. Jamal Khader presided over a Mass in the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Jubeiha, during which the General Secretariat for the year 2021 submitted its resignation after a year full of events and challenges that culminated in success and achievements. The Mass was attended by several priests, Religious Women, members of the previous secretariats, members of the youth groups, and the faithful.
During the Mass, Fr. Wajdi Twal was appointed new Chaplain of the Youth Group in Jordan, whereas Mr. Osama Shatara and Mr. Ibrahim Musallam, were appointed General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary respectively.
The celebration of the Feast of Christ the King in Palestine