Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land convenes, issues statement

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Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land convenes, issues statement

lpj.org

Heads of the Catholic Churches of the Holy Land met on November 3-4, 2015 at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Following is the text of the statement issues at the conclusion of their meetings:

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land held its bi-annual meeting on November 3-4, 2015 at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Following are the issues discussed:

First: The Year of Mercy, which is scheduled to start on December 8, 2015, will be an opportunity for a spiritual renewal of our faithful. The agenda of celebrations has been fixed. Several Holy Doors will be opened in different countries including Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus. But priority will focus on opening hearts of our faithful to God’s mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation and reciprocal forgiveness. Several activities will be implemented to earn the best fruits.

On February 11, 2016, the International Day of the Sick will be observed in Nazareth. The focal point of this day will be the Sacrament of the Holy Oil, which will be granted to a large number of the sick coming from Europe, and our local Church in the presence of a Pontifical Legate. It will be an additional moment of grace.

Second: The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land made a comeback on the Synod held in Rome in October about the “role and mission of the family in contemporary world”. Emphasis is laid, as was the case with the Synod Assembly, on the need and urgency to enhance the preparation of young couples for marriage, to lead a genuine reflection on the meaning, beauty and vocation of religious marriage. Couples, in the midst of crisis, need more than ever before to be accompanied and supported.

Third: The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land thanks Pope Francis for the publication last September of two “Motu proprio” aimed at allaying and simplifying judicial procedures of marriage annulment, to make them more accessible, quicker and less costly to the faithful. We hope to learn more on the task which will henceforth be reserved to the Diocesan Bishop.

Fourth: The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land focused on sensitive matters linked to bioethics. Decision was taken to launch four Pastoral Health Committees in favor of the four regions of the Holy Land. Donation of organs is encouraged being “a striking form of testimony of charity” (Benedict XVI), for the sake of the human family.

Fifth: The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land greets and supports the high value work of Caritas Jerusalem regarding needy people, especially in the fields of learning, health and development. Several activities were also implemented in the Gaza Strip following the devastating war of last summer. Bishops suggested assigning a local committee in every parish to be charged with following up on the affairs of poor families in order to give a “helping hand” to the national Caritas.

Sixth: Despite the last wave of violence, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land noticed that pilgrims came in large numbers to the Holy Land in September and October. We renew the call made, several times ago, to everybody wishing to walk in the footsteps of Christ: Do not be afraid! The people of this land need your testimonial. In order to better live this Year of Mercy, we recommend that the celebration of the Penitentiary Sacrament be included in the pilgrims’ programme. Our Pilgrimage Committee will work to make this sacrament yet more easily accessible in various shrines.

In conclusion, we urge our faithful not to feel discouraged, not to yield to pessimism, but to hold firm to their faith, to be servants workers of peace, witnesses of God’s Mercy, joyful witnesses of Christ, our Peace.

The Assembly meetings have been distinguished this year since the new apostolic nuncio to Jordan and Iraq, Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin, who arrived in Amman on October 1, took part in the sessions. Mgr. Ortega Martin was ordained priest on April 28, 1990. He holds a degree in Canon Law, and he joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1997. He subsequently served in the nunciatures of Nicaragua, South Africa, Lebanon and in the Secretariat of State’s Section for Relations with States. He speaks Spanish, French, English and Italian.

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 22:00
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