JENIN – On Monday, July 10th, 2023, His Beatitude Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by his delegation, visited the Latin parish of Jenin, to check-up on the parish, after the end of the Israeli military operation on the camp of Jenin.
The Israeli army withdrew from the city and camp of Jenin on Tuesday, July 4th, 2023, after the end of the military operation that lasted for two days, which was launched for the purpose of pursuing armed resistance fighters. The military operation caused tremendous damage to the city’s infrastructure and buildings.
As a result, major damage occurred to the building of the Latin church in Jenin – Holy Redeemer Church. A large explosion appeared to have broken out near the church building, which caused the shattering of the church’s windows, destruction of the electrical source, as well as damage to the internal and external paint of the building.
Hence, His Beatitude accompanied by Mgr William Shomali, General Vicar for the Latin Patriarchate, Mgr Jamal Daibes, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan, several priests, and LPJ’s administrative staff. They first visited the church building to determine the measure of harm inflicted upon the property, and then, they met with Fr. Labib Deibs, parish priest of Jenin, as well as some of the parishioners. Fr. Deibs shared with us his testimony about the incident which took place during his stay in the rectory of the church. He expressed his gratitude to the youth of the church, who helped him as much as they could in cleaning up the church.
During his visit to the city, Mgr Pizzaballa met with Mr. Akrab Rajoub, the governor of Jenin. He shared what the governorate was subjected to during last week’s events, and the plans they seek to implement to rebuild what was damaged. Mr. Rajoub also expressed his appreciation for the Patriarch’s visit, stating that it sends a message of hope and aspiration to continue seeking a better future for the people of this land.
His Beatitude stated that peace can only be achieved when the life and dignity of the Palestinians is respected and protected, as well as the need for violence to cease between all parties.
He also visited the government hospital of Jenin, where he met with the head of the hospital, Dr. Wissam Abu Bakr, and some of the patients who were injured during the aggression. His visit also included a tour of Jenin’s camp, where he was welcomed by the camp’s elders. They expressed their appreciation for the Latin Patriarchate’s visit, which affirms the unity of the Palestinian people.
He concluded his visit by meeting with Mr. Nidal Obaidi, the mayor of Jenin, who thanked the Patriarchate for his solidarity.
His Beatitude affirmed that the Catholic Church is at the right hand of its children, especially in times of conflict. He also stressed on the need to stop all kinds of violence, to seek a just and comprehensive solution in order to bring peace to the Holy Land.
The Latin parish of Jenin was established in 1928, and the building of the current church and the priest’s house were built in 1956.
Since its foundation, the priests of the Jenin parish have served the few Christian residents in the neighboring villages, namely Burqin, Barqa, Jalibah, Deir Ghazala and Kafr Koud.
The province includes a Latin monastery located in the Christian-majority village of Zababdeh, in addition to the Latin monastery and church in the city center, and a small church in Kafr Qoud.
The number of Christian families in Jenin reaches around 35 families. According to a statistic conducted in 2020, the number of Christians in Jenin are 155 believers, and the total number of believers in the neighboring villages reaches up to 120 people.