JERUSALEM – While we celebrate the birth of our Lord, we also celebrate the end of another year full of blessings, accomplishments and dedicated services. This past year has also brought along its share of challenges and difficulties, which we managed to overcome with our faith – the greatest tool to overcome any obstacle. Today, as Christmas approaches, let us look at the highlights of the Social Services Department of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
In 2022, many Christian families across the Holy Land continued to suffer economically, socially and psychologically, either due to the consequences of the pandemic, the ongoing political conflict, or the general increase in the cost of daily life, coupled with unemployment and worsening economic conditions.
During this year, the Social Services Department of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem continued to cooperate closely with other Catholic organizations (Caritas, Saint Yves, the Custody of the Holy Land) to serve the most vulnerable and poor populations to relieve their pain and suffering. The whole team has a personal involvement with these families, and provides for them material assistance, counseling and emotional support. The Department has also provided scholarships to cover tuition fees, food coupons, financial assistance and other forms of aid to bring these families out of debt and out of poverty.
By the beginning of the Christmas Season, the LPJ Social Department was able again to make the annual Family-to-Family Christmas campaign a success, thanks to the help of many generous local families who provided different kinds of donations to help other, more vulnerable families. With the grace of God and the generosity of the donors, they have been able to reach and support more than 150 families during Advent. Furthermore, the LPJ Social Department provided coupons for 50 needy families in Jerusalem to buy clothes during the holiday season and bring joy to children and vulnerable adults.
As part of the “Toys for Needy Children” initiative, and to bring much needed happiness to the children of the Holy Land, the LPJ Social Services Departement invited children with their parents to small parties organized in some of the LPJ parishes, where they received gifts, toys, and treats. In Jerusalem, the children and their parents were also able to go to the Latin Patriarchate to meet His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, to exchange Christmas greetings and receive their gifts from Jerusalem’s Santa Claus in a warm and festive atmosphere. In total, more than 1,300 children received Christmas presents from the LPJ across our parishes in the Holy Land.
We take this opportunity to thank all of those who have contributed generously to these different activities, including our international partners, local families who have decided to support other families, and those who have tirelessly worked to make sure that children in the different localities can celebrate the birth of Christ with much joy and happiness.