On this day in 2003, October 4, I met Issa, Tamer, Tamara, Ranim and Mary at their Latin Patriarchate School in Beit Jala, West Bank, Palestine. It was a Saturday morning. It was a blessed event for me!
Only the official “voting” member states had the right to fly their flag in front of the United Nations.
But the General Assembly just a few weeks ago voted overwhelmingly to allow the Palestinians and the Vatican, the only two nonmember “observer” states, to fly their flags.
The flag of the Holy See, the official “state” name of the Vatican, was raised without ceremony last Friday, the day on which Pope Francis addressed the United Nations. It was flying today in its permanent place with all the other flags of the nations.
Today the Palestinian flag was raised at the United Nations at 1:36 p.m. in a ceremonial garden.
At the ceremony Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, said that this day, September 30, will be known every year as the day of the Palestinian flag.
The banner of breaking news at the bottom of the screen was screaming for attention at the same minute.
Today the flag of the Vatican was raised at the United Nations for the first time, yes, the first time with the flags of the 193 United Nations member states.
On September 10 the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a Palestinian-sponsored resolution allowing the flags of non-voting observer states to fly alongside those of member states. The Holy See and Palestine are the only two observer states.
The U.S. flag flew for the first time today.
The Palestinian flag will fly for the first time on September 30.
The children were beautiful.
Their voices were down to earth and heavenly.
Their hope-filled plea to God made us want the same for all children, made us ready to desire it, and made us think that it is really possible.
They sang at the end of the interfaith prayer service with Pope Francis at Ground Zero. The sang in front of leaders of religions. They sang on behalf of all children of our world.
Even though at this moment we cannot literally stand with our “family” of the Catholic parish of Beit Jala, as we literally stood with them whenever we go to the Holy Land on pilgrimage, we stand with them liturgically and virtually.
This evening, Wednesday, September 2, the doors of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Milford, Ohio, open wide to anyone who would like to pray silently before the Blessed Sacrament for our family in Beit Jala. Around 6:30 p.m. there will be a rosary, prayers to Our Lady of Palestine and the closing hymn, “Jerusalem My Destiny.”
Although we cannot stand with them in the fields of the Cremisan valley, they will know that we support them at this time and that we are praying with them and for them.
The live streaming camera will be turned on at 6:00 p.m. Go to the St. Andrew parish website. On the left sidebar, look for “Church Cast,” and click on “Watch our Mass online”
Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 2, the doors of St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Milford, Ohio, will open wide to anyone who would like to pray silently before the Blessed Sacrament for our family in Beit Jala (Bethlehem), West Bank, Palestine.
Exposition will begin at 10:00 a.m. and continue until 7:00 p.m. We invite you to join us in prayer at a time (and in a place) of your convenience. The closing ceremony will be around 6:30 p.m. with a rosary, prayers to Our Lady of Palestine, and the hymn, “Jerusalem My Destiny.”
(The photo above pictures HOPE teacher/pilgrims at Mass in the Cremisan Valley of Beit Jala.)
In preparation for his visit to the U.S., and because he will not be visiting the cities in which these young people live, Pope Francis made a “virtual visit” with them.
If you do not watch the whole piece – Chicago Teen Sings for Pope Francis – at least skip to minute 2:30.
There is an hour long program on Friday at 10:00 p.m. on ABC. Set yourself up to watch it or set your DVR to watch it for you.