Love knows no boundaries; it gives strength to move forward and overcome difficulties, even when all seems lost.
The visit of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem to Gaza is an important moment of encounter for the local community.
An opportunity for dialogue, and a way to overcome together the difficulties arising from the war. The meeting with the community,” said Archbishop Pizzaballa, “is always very pleasant and joyful. On each visit, a baptism is celebrated, people are blessed, and their requests are listened to. Every occasion is a time of celebration.
Like the lighting of the Christmas tree: a moment that involved so many people, both Christians but also Muslims. The Patriarch fondly met, blessed, kissed and hugged children: “human relations are much simpler than going into political issues”-Mr. Pizzaballa stressed.
HB PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA, ofm
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
“Experience says first of all that one must never give up hope, never give up belief. One must have a high ideal, a heart full of gratitude and love.”
One can think of finding a sad and hopeless community, first because the political/economic and social situation is really difficult, then because the Christian community is really small. “But precisely because of that,” the Patriarch continued, “I encountered there a beautiful and strong sense of community. The problems are there, as usual, but the community never gives up.”
HB PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA,
ofm Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
“I think that’s what this community can reveal to you: despite the adversity around you you can be signs of peace, hope and love.”
Preparing for Christmas, Father Gabriel – pastor of the small Latin community in Gaza – explains, is done in the simplicity of families, with visits and blessings to homes and the sick, hearing confessions, and making short spiritual retreats.
The Patriarch’s visit anticipates Christmas, and is always a source of great joy for the community of about 1,000 faithful throughout the strip.
Fr GABRIEL ROMANELLI, ive Latin priest in Gaza
“The Christmas message is always the same: Look up because our salvation comes from our Lord Jesus Christ, the presence of God among us – the Emmanuel.
It is not only a message for Gaza and from Gaza, but it is a message for the whole world: We cannot live in darkness despite the fact that the world is in darkness. We cannot live distressed and sad as if the most important thing had not been given to us.
God has entered our history, and although our reality of life is sad and unjust, God has come to save us. We wish you all a Merry Christmas.”