Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, is coming to visit the UK this September, to speak about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land. The Patriarch was invited by Aid to the Church in Need as part of its work raising awareness of the challenges facing Christians in the region.
The event in September will be followed six weeks later by a visit to the UK by Bishop Joseph Coutts from Pakistan who will be the keynote speaker at ACN’s annual Westminster Event in October.
Archbishop Twal will celebrate the 5.30pm Mass at Westminster Cathedral for the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 8 September.
After Mass, the Patriarch will talk about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land in the Cathedral Hall.
In an interview with ACN in Rome, Patriarch Twal said: “I look forward very much to my visit to London. It will be an opportunity to share with so many friends the sufferings and joys that we experience in the land of Christ.”
He said the visit would build on the success of Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land in which the Pontiff pleaded with Christians not to emigrate.
Thanking ACN for its commitment to support suffering faithful in the Middle East, Patriarch Twal stressed the problems of poverty and discrimination facing Christians.
He added: “If only the faithful are given the chance to lead a normal life, they will stay in the Holy Land. As long as they cannot lead a normal life, they will be tempted to leave.”
Christians in the Holy Land have plummeted from 20 percent of the population to less than 1.5 percent in the last 40 years.
Meanwhile, Bishop Coutts has accepted ACN’s invitation to lead the charity’s Westminster Event on Saturday, 17th October.
The event will begin with a brief address by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster.
In a message to ACN, Bishop Coutts said he was delighted to be visiting the UK and thanked the charity for its ongoing support for the Church amid continuing hardship suffered by Christians and other minorities.
ACN UK director Neville Kyrke-Smith said: “It is critical that we get the message out there about what Christians are enduring for their faith today in the Middle East and Pakistan and we are so glad that Patriarch Twal and Bishop Coutts can give us their first-hand testimonies.”
Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem will celebrate the 5.30pm Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday, 8th September 2009 and will give a talk in the cathedral hall afterwards. Entrance is free – refreshments available.
Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, Pakistan is guest of honour at ACN’s Westminster Event on Saturday, 17th October. He will celebrate the 10.30am Mass in the Cathedral and will give the keynote address in the hall afterwards. Tickets for the talk are £5 each.
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