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2013
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January 5th through 10th: Holy Land Coordination

Bethlehem, January 8th, 2013

The 13th Session of the Holy Land Coordination is taking place from January 5th through 10th, organized by the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences for the Church of the Holy Land and the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land.
The delegation is composed of eight bishops from Europe and North America, accompanied by experts and media. This year’s theme is “suffering and vulnerable people in the Holy Land.”
The schedule, full of meetings and visits to various Christian entities, included a delegation that visited Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Jordan, as well as the American University of Madaba, while others were able to get permission to visit the Gaza Strip on Monday and Tuesday.
The entire delegation met in Bethlehem on successive days for sessions dedicated to the current situation in the Holy Land, with interventions by Bishops of the Local Assembly, including the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, touching on the current issues and difficulties experienced by the Christian communities in the Holy Land.
The days are marked by numerous moments of prayer, the daily celebration of the Eucharist, meetings with local communities and with the Catholic Bishops of the different rites, with students from Bethlehem University and other local authorities.
The visit will conclude on Thursday, January 10th, with the celebration of the Eucharist in the Holy Sepulchre, followed by a press conference at 10.00 at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, at which time a statement concluding their work will be made.
This committee of bishops began in 1997, when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the European Bishops’ Conferences to share with them in the commitment to support the Church in the Holy Land. Thus, in 1998, the annual visit to the Holy Land by the Holy Land Coordination was born as a sign of solidarity. Currently, the Secretariat of the Holy Land Coordination is entrusted to Dr. David Ryall of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.
The delegation this year includes 8 bishops: H.E. Peter Bürcher of the Nordic Bishops’ Conference, H.E. Joan-Enric Vives, Archbishop of Urgell, Spain, H.E. Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson, Arizona in the United States, H.E. Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; H.E. Declan Lang and H.E. William Kenney of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, H.E. Michel Dubost, Bishop of Evry, France, and H.E. Stephan Ackermann, Bishop of Trier, Germany.

Text: Internet Office
Photos: Nadim Asfour

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