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Gaza priest meets Pope Francis in the Vatican

bergoglio-jorgehernandezROME - August 29, 2014. The parish priest of Gaza, Father Jorge Hernandez, met  for 45 minutes His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican. The Pope expressed his closeness to all those who suffered during the long and difficult war in Gaza.

The meeting with the Holy Father lasted 45 minutes. Father Hernandez told His Holiness that he serves as part of the Latin Patriarchate, which opened its parishes and schools in the Gaza Strip to receive refugees whose homes were destroyed by the bombing.

In preparation for an emotional meeting with the Holy Father, Father Hernandez journeyed from Gaza to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem last Wednesday where he met with officials of the Patriarchate prior to his departure for Rome.

Father George Ayoub



Patriarch Twal calls for justice, international peace force for Gaza

Posted on Aug 22, 2014 in Local newsPatriarchSpeeches and Interviews FT

INTERVIEW- August, 21st, 2014. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to wreak destruction and death in Gaza, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, has expressed dismay over the collapse of truce talks in Egypt. 


Photo: The distraught father of one of three Palestinian children killed by an Israeli military strike in Gaza 

In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Italian service,  the leader of the Catholic Latin rite Church in the Holy Land said despite hopes that the talks would succeed,  “for years, there was this inner fear that things would not go well because there is no political goodwill to arrive at a final solution that  is right for everyone.”

“What is a cease-fire if the conditions that lead to violence remain the same? Conditions that create desperate people, frustrated, extremist and angry!” exclaimed the Patriarch.  “We must do much more to create a normal life: we need a (new) culture, a new mentality and an international force that can take the place of Israel (to keep the peace) in order to break this wall around the city.”

“If there were a normal life (in Gaza):  if there were streets leading outside, if there were an airport for travel, if there were a port, if the roads were open (into and out of) Israel, Egypt, and Jordan…and people could do business, live, sell, travel, study, go to hospital and to university, we would not have frustrated and desperate extremists.”

Asked how Gaza’s small Christian community is faring in the mayhem, Patriarch Twal said the area where the school and convent are located has not been harmed.  “They have opened their doors to several  hundred people – Muslim and Christian – who are living inside the grounds now but nothing has been touched.  It is nice that the Church is open to all those in need, Muslims, Christians… Our charity here corresponds to your solidarity that comes from abroad.”

During his visit to Korea, Pope Francis spoke often about the situation in the Middle East and Gaza.  “For us, he’s a father,” said Patriarch Twal, “and we thank the Holy Father; we are grateful to him.  We have very positive memories of his visit here, his stop at the Wall (Israel’s security barrier) – an image seen around the world,  I believe that people here have not forgotten that stop at the wall of separation, that means everything.”

Both sides, the Patriarch affirmed, are tired of conflict and desire peace.  “Absolutely!  Here, Caritas is collecting aid from all over the world.  There have been two or three Israeli organizations which have participated in this material aid to send to Gaza.  Certainly, there is no want of good will to condemn a certain kind of politics.”

Vatican Radio


Year of Faith Pilgrimage - Rome, Italy

This past September 13-16, 2013 approximately 3,500 Knights and Ladies of the Order worldwide gathered in Rome for a weekend of prayer and fellowship.

On Friday morning, our Grand Master, Edwin Cardinal O'Brien celebrated our opening Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Wall.

Friday afternoon saw us at Pope Paul VI audience hall for a short dissertation by Cardinal Fisichella on "The New Evangelization" followed by an audience with Pope Francis.  Both Cardinal O'Brien and His Beatitude, Fouad Twal were in attendance.

Saturday morning found our group at the Basilica of St. John Lateran for a prayer service and concert. 

In the late afternoon we found ourselves lined up four abreast next to St. Peter's Basilica in order for us to process in for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Sunday morning found a large group at the Vatican Gardens for a private tour.Then at 6:00pm Cardinal O'Brien officiated at our final Mass at St. Paul's Outside the Wall where he invested new Knights and Ladies from France and Portugal.

All in all the experience of gathering with so many kindred spirits instilled in us the absolute knowledge that "God wills it!"




Terra Sancta Museum in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem

Plans are in the works for a new museum highlighting our Christian heritage in the Holy Land.  The Custody of the Holy Land intend to open this hall of learning which will showcase the roots of Christianity as well as the preservation of the Holy Places.

For a more complete description and additional information please visit the Terra Sancta Museum link.



Epiphany in Jerusalem

Weather changes have affected all of us around the world even the city of Jerusalem! 

For more stunning photos please click here.