04/16/2016, 08.48
ISRAEL
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Tel Aviv, a spiritual oasis for migrants devoted to Our Lady

Founded in February 2014, Our Lady Woman of Valor Center allows people to  "practice their faith" and enjoy "many pastoral activities." Every weekend thousands of faithful attend functions, followed by community lunches. Catechism, day care centers and nursing homes are just some of the activities in the center. Special initiatives for the Year of Mercy.

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) - An oasis of "spiritual comfort, formation and support" in company, which allows numerous Catholic migrant communities present in Israel to "get together and practice their faith", at the same time taking advantage of "multiple pastoral activities" proposed by the center. This is the objective that animates the pastoral center Our Lady Woman of Valor in Tel Aviv, which opened its doors in February 2014 in the south center of the metropolis, and in these two years, has expanded its activities. As told by the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Lpj), Filipinos, Indians, Eritreans, Sudanese Sinhalese "all find a spiritual place of comfort."

It is located in the heart of a densely populated district, near the central station of Tel Aviv, an area in which most of the activities for the pastoral care of migrants is concentrated.

Over time the center has become the "parish" of hundreds, if not thousands of faithful who flock to Masses from Friday to Sunday. Each liturgy sees the participation of an average 400 people, often followed by convivial moments and lunches in communities.

The "house" already in the name confirms the close link with the Jewish world: in fact, "woman of valor" is a Marian title inspired by a passage of the book of Proverbs, in particular Chapter 31, which thus describes a mother who protects her children.

The center also promotes educational and cultural activities for children, who can also follow catechism classes in Hebrew, used in schools and in everyday life. There are also meetings in preparation for the sacraments, so that this year 50 children will receive their First Holy Communion and 25  young people will receive Confirmation.

But most of all, the pastoral center Our Lady Woman of Valor is a place that tackles the everyday challenges posed by society, with the aim of restoring a more dignified and decent life for migrants.

Fr. David Neuhaus, Latin Patriarchal Vicar and Pastoral Coordinator of migrants, works closely with leading NGOs to provide programs and solutions to major emergencies. Hence the project to strengthen the nursery, from six children in September 2014 to the current 51 entrusted to the care of at least a dozen teachers.

And more still, the opening of a treatment center - St. Joseph’s Home  - to accommodate the long-term patients. In fact, often, the migrants cannot afford expensive medical treatment and end up left on the streets, sick and abandoned to themselves.

Today the center is directed by a Filipino priest, Fr. Mako, on a mission for three years in the Holy Land. In recent months, his goal is to promote events and initiatives for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. These include the collection of empty bottles, the proceeds of which will be used for charitable initiatives. Also he plans, two pilgrimages to the doors of mercy of Bethlehem and Jerusalem to allow parishioners to "experience the love of God." Finally, he urged all the faithful in the course of the year to “carry out at least one corporal work of mercy".

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