Patriarch speaks from the heart in Dublin
DUBLIN – Patriarch Fouad Twal has reached the Holy Land delegation that participates in 50 International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland. Friday 15 June gave the homily (here) for the solemnity of the sacred heart of Jesus. During the religious celebration, the sacrament of the sick was administered to hundreds of people.
Definitely a nice gift for the Patriarch Fouad – whose name in Arabic means “heart” – to have been invited to deliver the homily on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. All the more so, if one considers the Episcopal motto chosen by him, “My heart is ready” (Psalm 57). The Patriarch recalled that the heart of the Christian life is based on the Eucharist and the sacrament was instituted in the Cenacle of Jerusalem: the heart of the Church. “During this Eucharistic Congress, we renew the awareness that this event happened in Jerusalem. I feel at home with you, as we continue to celebrate here among you, the Eucharistic event,” he said.
Patriarch Fouad dwelt on this “permanent miracle” that is the life of Jesus Christ and who stays in the “sacrament of the Eucharist, which unites us here in Ireland and throughout the world.” “The Eucharist” – he continued-”restores our broken humanity.”
“Fear is not an acceptable response for a disciple of Christ”
The Patriarch also expressed that, as “Pastor of a small flock” of Christians who live in the Holy Land, who suffer in this “Promised Land”, in this land of new promises, international resolutions remain unimplemented.” Moreover, although many centuries have passed, the Patriarch compared the situation back then with that of today: “at the beginning of the Church, Christians of Jerusalem were few and found courage only in the certainty that Christ was with them. Today, in the same way, we must be aware that Christ is with us and in him find courage “.
Patriarch Fouad Twal noted a decrease of local Christians in Jerusalem, but this only pushes him to extend an invitation to remain “loyal where the Lord has placed us”. He added, “if we take into account the political situation in the Middle East, it is human to be afraid, because we suffer and we feel threatened in our existence. However, fear is not an acceptable response for a disciple of Christ. (…) We must resist the strong tendency to consider ourselves as victims who pity their situation (…). Although we may feel alone, Christ is our hope, our joy and our freedom”.
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem explained that he was involved in several projects to help local Christians. However, he points out that the real help came mainly from the “prayer and recognition of our Lord in the Eucharist”.
Patriarch Fouad Twal, at the end, rejoiced for the presence in the Holy land of more than 100 congregations of religious men and women. Of these, 15 are contemplative communities who pray in Eucharistic adoration, day and night. The Patriarch finally addressed all participants of the Congress to ask for their prayers “in order to bring peace and justice in the Holy Land”.
Bishop Shomali meets Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
H.E. Bishop Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, commented: “the intervention of the Patriarch was much applauded in particular when he says that we should be proud to be Catholic. The Holy Land is very pleased to have been able to participate in this pilgrimage. He then met the Prime Minister and the President of Ireland, whom he greeted on behalf of the delegation of the Holy Land. Four Cardinals and bishops were present, in addition to Bishop Shomali: the papal legate Cardinal Marc Ouellet; H.E. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin; Cardinal Sean Brady, Primate of Ireland and Archbishop Piero Marini, head of the Pontifical Committee for the Eucharistic Congresses. Bishop Shomali communicated to the Prime Minister “the hope that Palestinians and Israelis pursue the path of reconciliation undertaken by Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland”. The Prime Minister has expressed his “support for a Palestinian State”, demonstrating a profound knowledge of the situation in the Holy Land. The President of Ireland, who knows Father Gregory Collins, of the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem asked the Bishop to convey to him his greetings. The Holy Land group will return to Amman and Jerusalem tomorrow morning “happy and fortified in the faith” concluded Bishop Shomali.