BEIT HANINA –In unison with the Christians of the East, living in persecution, the Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, Mgr William Shomali, presided on Friday 1st August over a Mass for peace and reconciliation at St James Parish Church in Beit Hanina.
Responding to an invitation by the Latin Parish of Jerusalem, Mgr Shomali went to Beitn Hanina Parish to celebrate Mass and to pray for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, as well as for Christians persecuted in the area, cradle of Christianity.
A large crowd of faithful filled the Church. They all came to express their solidarity with their Christian brethren, persecuted in Iraq and in Syria, but also towards their brethren in Gaza. Among the participants was the Apostolic Delegate, Mgr Giuseppe Lazzarotto, accepting an invitation sent to him by the Parish priests, Frs Firas and Haitham, two Franciscans of the Custody of Terra Sancta.
In his homily the Auxiliary Bishop called on the faithful to keep on praying for peace and reconciliation, meditating over three Beatitudes. Blessed are the merciful, those who offer every sort of help to all who are persecuted and suffering from evils of the war and dispersion. Blessed are peace makers, all good-willed politicians who work genuinely for peace and reconciliation among peoples and races. Organisations (such as UNO, UNRWA, etc) who have the duty to make sure that the weaker party are not victims of the stronger party and its arrogance. Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice. Persecuted “only because they carry a cross or a Bible”, according to Pope Francis.
At the end of the celebration, the Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem posed the history-old question : “Cain what have you done to your brother Abel ?” In the Bible, God says : “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to mke from the ground” (Gn 4:10). For Abel, many brethren cry to God for his spilled blood, out of Beit Hanina .. and the entire Holy Land !