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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Resources for Holocaust Memorial Day
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¬†This Thursday is Holocaust Memorial Day. The theme this year, which marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps, is: 'survivors, liberators, rebuilding lives'. The Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has issued the following information in a leaflet: The Pope and the Jewish community in Poland Pope John Paul II has frequently spoken of his personal experience during the Nazi regime in his native Poland and of his memories of living close to a Jewish community now destroyed. Speaking to the Jews in Warsaw in 1987 he said that the Jewish people are 'a force of conscience in the world today' and that the Jewish memory of the Shoah is 'a warning, a witness and a silent cry' to all humanity. Catholics and Jews The Pope has appealed to Catholics to renew their awareness of the Jewish roots of their faith. He has asked them to remember that Jesus was a descendant of David; that Mary and the Apostles belonged to the Jewish people; that the Church is nourished by its roots in Judaism; and that the Jews are our brothers and sisters, in a sense 'our elder brothers'. In Mainz in 1980, the Pope affirmed the continuing relationship between God and the Jewish people when he said that the covenant God had made with them 'has never been revoked'. What the Church is doing The Church ∑ asks forgiveness from God for those who have caused the Jewish people to suffer; ∑ prays that this sorrow will lead to a new relationship with the Jewish people; ∑ invites all people to reflect deeply on the significance of the Shoah (the Holocaust). The 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps and the end of the Second World War presents one of the greatest opportunities to show our respect for the survivors of Nazi persecution and mass murder and to listen to what they can tell us about the best and the worst of human behaviour. The Committee advises Catholic communities to: ∑ Encourage initiatives in Parish schools. ∑ Find out what is being organised in the local area. Help to publicise or take part in the events. ∑ Invite a Holocaust survivor or a more contemporary refugee to speak about their experiences. ∑ Organise an event to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in 1945. Recognise the role of the liberators. ∑ Invite those of different ethnic minorities to come together for a celebration of cultures. ∑ Display a copy of the Statement of Commitment showing support for the aims of the Day and encourage people to sign it. ∑ Arrange a joint project with a local Jewish community supporting recent asylum seekers into this country. ∑ Include a prayer during Mass ≠ for example 'For the Church, that the Holocaust may be a reminder to us that we can never be indifferent to the sufferings of others, we pray to the Lord'. RESOURCES For local activities pack, educational material and visits: Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre Laxton, Newark, Notts NG22 0PA Tel: 01623 836627 email: website: For outreach to schools, resource materials, visits to Auschwitz: Holocaust Educational Trust BCM Box 7892, London WC1N 3XX Tel: 020 7222 6822 email: website: For liturgical and educational resources (inc. Home Office Pack): The Council of Christians and Jews 5th Floor Camelford House, 87-89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP Tel: 020 7820 0090 email: website: For resources on racial justice and ethnic minorities: Catholic Association for Racial Justice 9 Henry Road, London N4 2LH Tel: 020 8802 8080 email: website:
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