Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Tuesday, 23 April 2024
Holy Land: Cardinal Pizzaballa ends his pastoral visit to Jaffa-Nazareth :

His Beatitude Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, began his pastoral visit to Jaffa-Nazareth, on Friday, April 19, 2024, at St. John the Beloved Church entrance, where he was welcomed by Fr. Nidal Qanzou’ah, parish priest of Jaffa-Nazareth, and Fr. Simaan Jarasieh, from the Greek Melkite Church, Fr. Gabriel Nadaf, priest of the Orthodox Church, Fr. Masoud Abu Hatom, of Greek Melkite, Mr. Maher Khalileh, the president of the local council, Mr. Ceaser Marjieh, Director of Christian Affairs at the Israeli Ministry of Interior, the Rosary sisters, and the faithful. The parish's scout and choir groups played symphonies and sang songs to express their joy for the presence of H.B. Card. Pizzaballa, among them for three days.


“I am eager to spend these upcoming days with you, to know your parish in-depth, and extend my blessings and council to you, as well as meet with the different Churches, and members of the society,” said Card. Pizzaballa at the welcoming, after he blessed the attendees with the Holy Water. Then he visited the Patriarchate  School and Kindergarten, where he was welcomed by Mr. Ceaser Rashid, president of the secondary school, Ms. Grace Marjyeh, president of the elementary school, and several students. The president and teachers, presented to the Cardinal the different spiritual, and educational extra-curricular programs they offer to their students, such as the program called “challenges”, which was initiated by the pastoral council of the parish. It focuses on providing the students with First Aid courses, Robotics, and basic mechanical skills. They also shared the different difficulties they currently face at the school, which includes the small capacity of the school.


In the afternoon, Cardinal Pizzaballa presided at a Holy Mass, celebrating 35 High school graduates. In his homily, he thanked the schoolteachers for their efforts and gave a word of direction to the graduates saying: “Life is not only about work, money, and achievements. As humans, we look for meaning and love, and in today’s Gospel, Jesus says, that in Him only you can find the meaning of life and true selfless love. Hence, keep Jesus at the center of your life”.


Afterward, he met with all the pastoral groups of the parish, in the presence of Fr. Qanzou’ah. They shared their latest activities, programs, and achievements. During the meeting, Card. Pizzaballa applauded the parishioners for having different parish groups for all ages and for their desire to continue to grow. He also shared with them one of the current challenges of the Church, which is the family unit, saying: “Faith begins in the family, before the Church, and we have to ensure that Families are living out the principles of the faith, so the children can grow up close to God and the Church. Faith is not only centered on prayers but also on forgiveness, which is connected with love. Faith, forgiveness, and love are one. And If the parent’s relationship with God is alive, they will be able to embody the Character of God to the children”. He also advised them to help the youth know that Christianity is not a burden of laws to follow but rather a delight of communing with God. At the end of the day, he visited the 4 Rosary sisters, who serve at the parish, and thanked them for preparing the children to receive the sacraments of the Church.


On the Second day, His Beatitude Cardinal Pizzaballa and the delegation accompanying him, first met with the local council of Jaffa-Nazareth to learn more about the different aspects of the town, social environment, and current struggles. Cardinal Pizzaballa expressed the reason he purposed not only to visit his flock during his pastoral visits but also the different communities of the town, “because the Christian community is part of a larger society, and it is important to work together, to keep good relations, overcome the hardships of life together.”


Then, they visited the public school of Jaffa-Nazareth, where he met with the school’s president, Mr. Mohmmad Naem, who expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the visit of the Cardinal to the school. Card. Pizzaballa expressed during the meeting that it was important for him to visit not only the Patriarchate school but also other schools to learn more about the educational aspect of the town, as it acts as a crucial component in the upbringing of the next generation, and the future of the society. Mr. Khalileh, the president of the local council, gifted the Cardinal a gift of appreciation for his great efforts in fostering co-existence in the community.


They also visited the Annunciation Church of the Greek Melkite church in Nazareth, where he was welcomed by Fr. Sema’an Jarasy, parish priest, as well as Fr. Masoud Abu Hatom. It was followed by a visit to St. Saba Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Jaffa-Nazareth, where he was welcomed by Fr. Gabriel Nadaf, priest of the Orthodox Church. Then a visit to the local Mosque, where the Sheik Khalid Ahmed Abu Shadi welcomed the Cardinal and the delegation accompanying him.


On the same day, he anointed the sick of the parish in their homes. Then, administered the sacrament of Baptism to a child from the family of Kassabry, and celebrated Mass with the parish. He also inaugurated the new scout’s hall. “I am proud of every scout member for your loyal service, you are a very crucial component to the life of the Church and the community,” he expressed.


At the end of the second day, he prayed the vespers with the Neocatechumenal Way members of the parish.


On the final day of the visit, Sunday, April 21, 2024, His Beatitude  Cardinal Pizzaballa celebrated the 4th Sunday of the Good Shepherd at the parish Church of St. John the Beloved, during which he also administered the Sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. Concelebrating were Mgr. Rafiq Nahra, Patriarchal Vicar of Galilee, Fr. Johnny Abu Khalil, and Fr. Rimond.


In his homily, Cardinal Pizzaballa talked about the characteristics of the good shepherd, and the importance of staying united as a flock: “Christ is the shepherd. The Church and the community of believers represent the flock, and our goal as Christians is to maintain the unity of the flock. The Bible calls us to distinguish between the good shepherd who loves to gather the flock and the wolf who wants to divide”. In the end, he extended his appreciation to all who accompanied him during his visit, and for the efforts of all who were behind the success of the pastoral visit.