Catholic bishops meet in Jerusalem to support Christian community

Bishops from Europe and North America are heading to Jerusalem this week to support the beleaguered Christian community in the Holy Land. The Most Rev Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, is leading the 2010 meeting of the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land (Holy Land Co-ordination) which starts this Sunday 10 January. Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, will act as chair for the plenary sessions.

Mandated by the Holy See and organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales since 1998, the Holy Land Co-ordination meets every January in the Holy Land with the aim of acting in solidarity with the Christian community there and sharing in the pastoral life of the local Church as it experiences intense political and social-economic pressure.

On Sunday 10 January there will be pastoral visits across the West Bank. The following day the official opening session will involve a number of addresses including overviews of the situation by His Beatitude Archbishop Twal and the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Franco.

This year the focus of the Holy Land Co-ordination will be the situation in Jerusalem and delegates will be briefed and visit people in those areas of Jerusalem that have suffered from evictions and confiscations. On Tuesday 12 January, following these visits there will also be the opportunity to visit the Housing project of Beit Safafa, meeting with some of the young couples who are beneficiaries.

Following meetings with both Palestinian and Israeli leaders, the Holy Land Co-ordination will conclude with a press conference at midday on Thursday 14 January in the Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem.

Archbishop Kelly said: “This visit will take place between the visit of the Holy Father last year and the planned Synod on the Middle East. The focus will be on East Jerusalem, so we become wiser about this issue.

“On the Sunday, I will be going to Nablus, whose parish is twinned with one in Liverpool. This attachment between our cities and the binding of the links between ordinary people is the way to ensure a better future in this Land that we call Holy. We hope to strengthen both the people of the Holy Land and also ourselves as people committed to justice and

The Bishops and their representatives taking part in the Holy Land Co-ordination 2010 are:

Archbishop Patrick Kelly - Archbishop of Liverpool
Bishop Peter Bürcher - Head of the delegation of the Nordic Bishops Conference
Bishop Gerald F Kicanas - Bishop of Tucson - Vice-president US Bishops’ Conference
Bishop William Kenney CP - Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham
Bishop Michel DuBost - Bishop of Evry, French Bishops' Conference
Bishop Joan-Enric Vives - Bishop of Urgell, Spanish Bishops’ Conference Bishop Pierre Morissette - President, Canadian Bishops’ Conference Bishop Stephan Ackermann - Bishop of Trier - President of the German Commission for Justice and Peace
Mgr Mario Paquette - General Secretary, Canadian Bishops’ Conference Fr Duarte da Cunha - Secretary General CCEE

Source: CCN

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