18 January 2018

"Hope and Future in the Holy Land", the 2018 edition of the HLC

The annual visit of 15 bishops of the Holy Land Coordination from Europe, North America and South Africa. Education and young people are the theme of the 2018 journey.

Actuality and events

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"Hope for the future in the Holy Land". This is the title chosen by the 2018 edition of the Holy Land Coordination. Created twenty years ago with the objective of meeting and supporting Christians in Israel and in Palestine, the Holy Land Coordination involves bishops from Europe, North America and South Africa. From January 13 to 18, 15 of them arrived to the Holy Land to visit, to learn about different local realities and to bring their voice to their dioceses and cities.

Archbishop - Cape Town - Sud Africa
"Without education, we would never be able to build a culture of human rights and peace. Our young people have many dreams and hopes. Without peace, those dreams and desires will remain frustrated, so we must find ways to build peace and we [can] do it through education and through the creation of a culture of human rights. "

As per tradition, the tour started from Gaza, then moved to the West Bank and included the schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Bethlehem.

Director of Schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
"I believe that the role of education is essential and fundamental because it is a message of hope. The younger generations, the students who grow up knowing each other well, can build the future through education. And meeting their neighbor is the first step in their life here, in the Holy Land; later they learn to know him, respect him and live with him, based on all the good things that all the parties approve, accept and desire.”

The visit in Jerusalem began with the meeting with several students from the law department of the Hebrew University that deals with legal cases related to discrimination, involving individuals or religious minorities.

The mass took place in the Co-Cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate, in the presence of Mons. Giacinto-Bolous Marcuzzo, Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, who presided over the eucharisitic celebration.

They also had the opportunity to meet two young members of the Parents Circle Families Forum, an organization that for over twenty years has gathered 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who are still mourning as a consequence of the conflict and who, despite their afflictions, believe in the possibility of meeting their neighbor and seeing him as a friend, not as an enemy.

General Secretary - HLC
"The experience of meeting with people here allows us to leave the Holy Land with the sensitivity to their needs [engraved in our hearts]; [we will also cherich] our love for the holy places of Jesus' incarnation and the love embodied in the lives of the people we met, but, above all, [we will treasure] their suffering in a society that is not completely at peace.”

At the end of the holy mass, celebrated in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, at the Holy Sepulcher, HLC published the traditional final message.
Three suggestions were given: to support organizations that help find a job and a home, to promote pilgrimages to meet the locals and to pray and to oppose any attempt of division.
"The young people of the Holy Land have been constantly disappointed by their leaders and by the international community”, reads the statement. Yet their courage, their resilience and even their anger reveal the desire to keep fighting for change and for peace.

HLC Coordinator - Bishop of Clifton – England and Wales
"We went to both Palestine and Israel, and perhaps the biggest and saddest difference is that on both sides they have expectations and desires, on both sides they hope for a better world, but the opportunities are decidedly less for those in Palestine than those living in Israel. So, my message is "justice for all". My message consists in allowing everyone, wherever they live and whatever nationality, to flourish and to enjoy life to the fullest, because each person is exceptional and unique. And we must allow this uniqueness to bloom and to express itself.”