Mgr Pizzaballa: Advent, the family is the “hope of the Church”

A pastoral centre with the religious and laity has been set up. Waiting for Jesus Christ in the life of each of us is possible with "our active and personal response".

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, released a letter to the faithful of the diocese on the occasion of Advent.

In it, he writes that the core of pastoral life in the Holy Land is the family, "where the first seeds of faith are sown, through the word and through your faith lived every day, despite the difficulties of life, following in the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth and Bethlehem, Jesus, Mary and Joseph."

Now Advent is upon us. This “is a time of waiting, the waiting today for the arrival of our Savior Jesus Christ in the life of each one of us”. This is “not possible without our active and personal response.”

In his message, the apostolic administrator informs the faithful of the creation of a Pastoral Office in Jerusalem and Amman, which includes "parish priests, religious men and women, and especially of lay people and couples from all parts of the diocese."

For the Latin patriarchate, this body will help keep the focus on the family, "hope of the Church" at a time of "many transformations in our society and communities that call for new perspectives and new pastoral approaches."

During a meeting with the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, Pope Francis had also spoken about the families and young people in the Holy Land.

"I would offer a particular greeting to the members of the various Christian communities in the Holy Land,” said the pontiff on that occasion. “Particularly important in this regard would be increased cooperation in supporting Christian families and young people, so that they will not be forced to leave their land. By working together in this delicate area, the faithful of different confessions will also be able to grow in mutual knowledge and fraternal relations.”

The Christian community in the Holy Land faces many difficulties amid tensions that make peace seem farther and farther away. This has led many families to look for a way to emigrate whilst others try at least to send their children to study abroad. 

Communications are also a problem between the areas controlled by Israel and those under the Palestinian Authority.