Sister Nabila Saleh, a sister of the Holy Rosary is taking refuge in the Holy Family Parish,along with 700 other Christians. She has made a heartfelt plea for peace and humanitarian aid.
In a telephone conversation with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Sister Nabila expressed deep concern for the 100 traumatized children who are currently housed in the parish complex and have known nothing but war. “We just want peace. We have had six wars in Gaza. Children only know war,” she lamented. But despite the dire circumstances, Sister Nabila remains resilient, believing that “staying busy and helping others is the best way to cope with the devastation.”
The Holy Family Parish is providing aid and shelter to wounded and displaced Christians affected by the ongoing violence, most of whom have lost their homes. Along with six other sisters and a Catholic priest, Sister Nabila has been working tirelessly to support the community.
The situation in Gaza remains extremely troubling. The Holy Family community has no electricity or running water. They have resorted to using water from the well, though they fear it could run dry at any time, and the mineral water they buy is three times the original price.
A drop in the ocean
The opening of the border with Egypt brings hope for aid, but Sister Nabila and the Christian community are unsure if the much-needed assistance will reach them.
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the recent aid deliveries, consisting of about 20 trucks a day, are just a drop in the ocean. For medical supplies alone, the Ministry requires 500 trucks daily.
The sisters and the staff are doing everything they can to ensure that all receive what they need, but resources are limited, and the situation is worsening by the day. More refugees came to the parish after the explosion of a Greek Orthodox compound that killed 18 people. There are now almost 700 Christians, including 100 children, 50 people with disabilities, and some who were wounded at the Greek Orthodox compound and are receiving medical treatment.
Among those killed in the explosion was a teacher from Sister Nabila’s school, plus her entire family and other children who had been attending catechesis that day.
At the parish, Mass is celebrated twice a day, and people constantly pray the rosary, seeking peace through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.
‘We will not abandon this Christian mission’In a joint statement, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem emphasized their unwavering commitment “to fulfilling our sacred and moral duty of offering assistance, support, and refuge to those civilians who come to us in such desperate need.”
Despite military demands to evacuate charitable institutions and houses of worship, the Churches have refused: “We will not abandon this Christian mission, for there is literally no other safe place for these innocents to turn.” They call upon the international community to “enforce protections in Gaza for sanctuaries of refuge, such as hospitals, schools, and houses of worship” and urge an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” to ensure the safe delivery of essential supplies to displaced civilians.
Sister Nabila’s words echo the sentiments of the local community, which is yearning for an end to the violence and suffering after almost two weeks in the parish complex. “Peace, peace, we just want peace. There is so much evil, so much suffering. It’s terrible. Right now, we only have God,” she said.
By Maria Lozano | churchinneed.org