In the Olive Garden with Ibrahim

10 Nov

Below is an article about Father Ibrahim Shomali and the Christians of Beit Jala. It appears on the website of the Latin Patriarchate Jerusalem (the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jerusalem).

Father Ibrahim is the parish priest of Annunciation Church in Beit Jala. St. Andrew parish is in a twinning relationship with his parish, and our SASEAS school is in a twinning relationship with his parish school. Father Ibrahim will be visiting us in Milford in December, and will be with us for Sunday Mass, ensha’allah. Next June I will visit him in Beit Jala, and will celebrate Mass with him in the olive field of Beit Jala, God willing.

Beit Jala Christians pray to stop wall

Christians of Beit Jala attended an open-air Mass on Friday, November 4th to pray together against the Israeli decision to confiscate a part of their land. The Israeli government intends to extend the separation wall at the entrance of the Cremisan valley.

To protest against this decision, faithful gathered with the Pastor of Beit Jala, Father Ibrahim Shomali and Father Mario Corniole for an open-air Mass. An Israeli committee approved a plan to build 1,100 new houses on the south slopes of Gilo last September. To do this, the route of the wall “will confiscate land belonging to Christian people and Christian church,” reports a statement of the Latin parish. The idea is simple: protesting not by violence but by prayer. In the same statement, the parish priest and Christians of Beit Jala denounce “the  confiscation [by Israel] of the last green area in Beit Jala (Bethlehem district)”, considering “the annexation of the most beautiful lands in the Bethlehem area as a direct attack against the Palestinian people and especially  against Palestinian Christians.”

Soliciting members of the Quartet for the Middle East – including the United Nations, the Russian Federation, the United States and the European Union – and also calling upon the rest of the international community, the parish of Beit Jala called President Mahmoud Abbas’ government, the Latin Patriarchate and the civil society to do “everything possible to keep the land in the hands of its rightful owners.”

In the light of the message from Synod for the Middle East last year regarding the Christian presence in the Holy Land: “It is Church’s duty to support our presence. Therefore, we call the Holy See and Pope Benedict XVI to act  immediately, using all possible means to help protect our people.”

The Mass was celebrated in a field of olive trees which will probably be cut and uprooted. As recalled by Father Mario Corniole, olives were silent witnesses of Jesus’ suffering and agony in Gethsemane. Thus, Beit Jala parishioners attached to their land and their olive trees will meet every Friday on this “Gethésménai” where they still live in fear, but also with the hope that their land will always be respected.

3 Responses to “In the Olive Garden with Ibrahim”

  1. JoAnne Lacey November 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Tears….beautifully written, Father Rob!

  2. YES that the true of Israeli government, Take the land that NOT belong to them, here in Beit Jala we face this Big BIg Big problem, for this we ask our JESUS LORD to help us so we do a MASS there, AND every friday we will do the MASS on the land that the Israeli will took it. THE land is the most buitifull in Beit Jala we called it GREENLAND of Beit Beit Jala named Creamzan, palnted with different trees-Olive trees the most, Grapes, Apples, Apprecote…and more this land is the Bag fruit of Beit Jala, After the wall we LOSE this very important land we pray and still pray for GOD to help us in this matter

    Waseim Kasabry
    Beit Jala – Palestine

  3. Thank U Fr Rob PLZ be contact of the world to what we face in Palestine soecialy in Beit Jala. You are our Massege on your church St. Andrew. Let all the Parish KNOW and the world KNOW what they did and what they will do of our LAND

    But We are here NOT LEAVING
    IF we leave We will come Bacj again……

    Waseim Kasabry – Beit Jala – Palestine

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