Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mother of Sorrows

As we reflect on the sufferings of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she stood at the foot of the cross, let us offer up our prayers for the persecuted Christians especially those in the Holy Land.
Last week the Patriarch of Jerusalem visited the UK and in a speech at Westminster Cathedral has said that the future of the Church in the Holy Land is now in doubt – unless fellow Christians around the world step up efforts to help them.
The Patriarch stressed that emigration had drastically reduced the numbers of Christians in both Israel and Palestine. The faithful in Jerusalem were expected to fall from 10,000 today to little more than 5,000 in 2016. He also said that in the Holy Land as a whole, Christians had declined from 10 percent to two percent within 60 years – although other evidence shows the decline to be even more severe.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem during the Midnight Mass procession in Bethlehem.
He said: “From limiting movement and ignoring housing needs to taxation burdens and infringing on residency rights, Palestinian Christians do not know where to turn.” Patriarch Twal also spoke out in particular against the wall erected by Israel around the West Bank, saying that as well as hampering freedom of movement, the wall “has enclosed many Palestinians in ghetto-like areas where access to work, medical care, schooling and other basic services has been badly affected.” He went on: “We have a new generation of Christians who cannot visit the Holy Places of their faith that are only a few kilometres from their place of residence.”
Speaking of the need to achieve a lasting settlement in the region, Patriarch Twal said: “If in 61 years we have not been able to find peace, this means that the methods we used were the wrong ones. He added: “It seems that politicians are more afraid of peace than of war and they prefer to manage the conflict rather than solve it.” Patriarch Twal said that in the Occupied Territories, people “are completely at the mercy of the Israeli military, and at present the Gaza Strip is living under an Israeli-imposed siege, that has created a drastic humanitarian crisis.”
Let us unite our prayers with those of Mary as we interceded for all those who suffer, especially the Christians of the Holy Land.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows of the Latins next to Calvary.

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