2012
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The Assembly of Ordinaries Meeting in Bethlehem

2012/09/12

Wednesday, September 12th, groups of students from Catholic schools in Bethlehem, BeitSahour and BeitJala, flocked to the Franciscan Parish Church of St. Catherine in Bethlehem, to attend Mass together with the members of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land.
The Bishops gathered for the Assembly meeting concelebrated the Mass, presided over by His Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal.
Fr. Faisal Hijazin, General Secretary of Christian Schools in Palestine and Director General of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine, addressed a special welcome to the Heads of Churches, thanking them for their valuable presence around the altar and greeted affectionately the teachers, directors and students of thevarious educational Institutes, and asked the bishops to “Pray for the difficult and critical economic situation that educators are experiencing at this time.”
The Basilica was full of young people. The Patriarch turned to them, as a father, “You are children of the Holy Land, the future of the Nation; the Church and the entire world look at all of you with great attention.” His Beatitude went on to say, “There are three important aspects to which I desire to draw your attention. The first, the global dimension; because the entire world looks to you, your behavior and your studies as an imagethat brings us honor. The second, the ecumenical dimension, which means the necessity to address the other with openness, without limits, like the love of Christ that knows no borders, that invites you to live this love in every situation and, for you, it means to live in schools without borders. The third aspect is the dimension of dialog with other religions and of peaceful coexistence.”
The Patriarch ended the homily by quoting the words of St. Paul, “ ‘I… urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace;’ [Eph. 4:1-4] I wish you every success and good to all of you, your schools, and your parents.”

This Mass was celebrated during the annual meeting of the Assembly of Ordinaries, which took place September 11-12. The Assembly is a time for discussion of the various ecclesial and pastoral issues, for example: the outcome of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, the Congress of Families in Milan, and the conference for Pilgrimages and of Tourism. Also discussed were the reports of Caritas in Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus, and the work of the Bishops’ Committee for Communication. In addition, one of the sessions was dedicated to the celebration of Easter according to the Eastern calendar.
In the interview with His Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad, we report the statement that refers to the last issue: “The Bishops are in agreement, but we await the final answer from Rome.”
Since 195, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries meets twice a year with the aim of studying issues, situations and problems common to the entire Diocese highlighted by the different Churches, in order to propose the best solutions in the implementation of the advanced proposals.

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