Report from Gaza City
FHL works closely with Fr Mario, the Parish Priest of the Holy Family Parish in Gaza City. Fr Mario was instrumental in setting up FHL’s employment project to support young Christians living on the Strip. Below, Fr Mario shares the problems faced by Christians living in Gaza and how the church attempts to help their young people
Living in Gaza is like living in an open air prison since we can’t leave - we can’t visit relatives, look for work, medicines or visit hospitals on the outside. There is widespread poverty. When I arrived in 2012 the situation was already very difficult. Over time, you would hope the situation would get better, but it’s got worse.
The church in Gaza is doing two things. Firstly, preaching Christ: the importance of Christians in the Holy Land, the importance of forgiveness and carrying the cross in all that we do. The second is identifying material assistance projects. With the help of institutions such as UK Charity, Friends of the Holy Land, the Church gives work to more than 30 young people to encourage them to stay in Gaza.Fr Mario, Parish Priest of the Holy Family Parish in Gaza City
In recent communication with Fr Mark Madden (FHL’s Diocesan Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Liverpool) Fr Mario, of the Holy Family Parish in Gaza City, asked that supporters remember Gaza.
“I never saw the situation as bad as it is now. I think we must pray and ask God to end the injustice and conflicts in this land.”Fr Mario, Parish Priest of the Holy Family Parish in Gaza City
In response Fr Madden prompts us to remember the prayer (see below) shared by the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales at their April meeting in Leeds. They discussed the Middle East, the continuing conflict in Gaza and the ongoing blockade which prevents adequate medical assistance and undermines hopes for peace.
The bishops’ prayer:
We pray for the peoples of the world caught up in conflict and strife. We remember with particular love the people of Syria and Gaza; we pray for those whose love of neighbour has been destroyed in the bitterness of enmity.
May their fear be submerged in compassion. May their distrust be diluted by hope, as a vision of peace and Easter joy illuminates all darkened minds and hate-filled hearts.
We ask this in the name of the Risen Christ.