This year, about 220 members of the various Hebrew speaking Catholic communities in Israel gathered at Kiryat Yearim to spend a day of fellowship together during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). The day was spent in prayer and rest, activities and friendship.
During the course of the Mass, Sophie Alexandra, two months and twenty days old, was baptized and thus received into the Church as a new member. Her parents, Joe and Jaimie, are members of the Jerusalem kehilla. This was indeed an added joy!
At the end of the Mass, Father David invited Benny to come forward. Benny is a seminarian for the Saint James Vicariate and is beginning theology studies. Father David invited all the seminarians present – Alberto, a Franciscan, Andres, from the Families of the Visitation, Gioele from the Brothers of Sion, Hidrimariam, from the Eritrean Church, to come forward as well. With them he invited the seven novices from Sisters of Sion. He then asked the 12 concelebrating priests to extend their hands in blessing and asked the Lord to accompany Benny as he continues on his way towards ordination.
After the Mass, the faithful gathered to drink a toast to the new year and then went off to eat lunch. During the picnic, groups of faithful spread out throughout the beautiful grounds of the Sanctuary. After a time to eat and a time to rest, the faithful were called together again and some time was spent in play – dancing, playing ball, doing Biblical miming and other games. The games were animated by the youth of Desert Flower, under the guidance of Fathers Piotr and Apolinary.
The wonderful together ended with a final prayer, led by Father Roman. October 11 is the Feast of Saint John XXIII, called “the Good Pope” by Jews and Catholics alike. The prayer focused on him and the faithful recited together the prayer he had proposed to to the Church.
At the end of the day, the faithful went back home reinforced in their faith and strengthened in the shared fellowship.