ISRAEL – Patriarch Twal joins celebrations at pastoral centre for migrants
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, joined in the celebrations at the “Our Lady Woman of Valor” pastoral centre for migrants in the south of Tel Aviv. Hundreds of migrants who came from various communities served by the Pastoral Center- Filipinos, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Sri Lankans, Indians and Sudanese – arrived in traditional costumes at the church to celebrate the festival of Our Lady, after whom the centre is named.
During the service, readings were made in the languages of the different communities. The chaplain of Catholics from Geez rite proclaimed the good news in Tigrinya. Father David Neuhaus, SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics and Coordinator of the Pastoral Care of Migrants in Israel, repeated in his homily the words of Mary at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you”. He presented Mary as the disciple par excellence, “we should follow their footsteps to consummate discipleship. She who has borne Jesus in her womb, invites us to bring him into the world, and especially here in the south of Tel Aviv “. He emphasized the tranquility and discretion of Mary as a servant of the Lord.
At the end of the service Patriarch Twal thanked those assembled for their faith and perseverance in the midst of trials and encouraged them to persevere. He admired the work that has already been done and said the Centre offered hope.
After blessing the congregation, the Patriarch led a procession to the inauguration of the newly refurbished St. Joseph’s house. This is an extension of the pastoral center, which will provide a place for people recovering from illness and a kindergarten for children under three years. Patriarch Twal was followed by Father David, priests, nuns and representatives from the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, the German Association for the Holy Land and the Pontifical Mission. The Philippine Ambassador Neal Imperial was also present with his team – Consul General Pamela Bailon , the vice-consul and the cultural attaché.
Afterwards everyone gathered for a festive meal with specialties that were prepared by the various nationalities at the Centre. In one corner of the court there were colourful baskets for sale, which were made in the Kuchinate workshops by African women refugees who had been victims of violence.