Our Lady Help of Christians, Kentish Town, Pilgrimage. May 2023

Following two interesting and busy days of seeing the holy sights of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, we were happy to engage with the people of Palestine and hear of their lives and the work being undertaken by the Friends of the Holy Land. 

Our pilgrim group, led by Father John Deehan, consisted of parishioners from North London with keen friends, along with a family originating from Mexico in South America. 

We were escorted by our wonderfully informed, and patient, guide, Annis, who had his work cut out to keep this chatty group in line and on time for all the visits so admirably prepared by Gem Travel.

We were warmly received at St Martha’s House, a day care centre for elderly women, many of whose children had emigrated from Palestine to seek a different life elsewhere in the world. 

At this centre they enjoyed activities and companionship and hot meals that they otherwise might struggle to manage with shopping and preparation. Here was a supportive lifeline of love and care for elderly, lonely people in a region fraught with tensions and an enduring challenging situation of which we in Britain cannot comprehend. 

Overcoming the language barrier, we managed to engage with the women who were really happy to see us – and after our welcome cup of coffee the dancing got into full swing. 

I noticed plaques from many donors in Britain who support the Friends of Holy Land as their charity and, having seen the centre at first hand, it is money very well spent – and they are grateful to be supported – and remembered.

Our group also brought basic items to help their daily struggle.

Our visit to the School of Joy was indeed very joyful! The delightful children made full use of the distraction of visitors who showed interest in their books and their life at the school run by Fr Mamdouh Abusada and the team of dedicated special needs teachers and helpers.

Gifts donated were well accepted such as crayons and books but the badminton set attracted great attention and was hopefully put to good use by the students.

Our admiration and praise is extended to all the staff at these two facilities and to the inspiring work done by the Friends of the Holy Land in offering support and garnering interest. God speed.

Irene Heywood Jones   May  2023

See more pictures here