Twinning of the Parishes of Jerusalem and San Martino
Jerusalem – Custody of the Holy Land – The Latin Parish of Jerusalem hosted a group of pilgrims from San Martino Parish in the Diocese of Milan on August 22nd. The signing of a twinning agreement between both parishes was celebrated during a Mass held at the Parish os St. Saviour.
Fr. Firas Hijazeen, parish priest, welcomed this initiative by saying: “The initiative came from Fr. Maurizio Bessina, parish priest and Prefect of Parishes in the region of Bollate in Italy following his visit to the Holy Land and his observation of the distinctive Christian advocacy of all those who live here, in particular at the Mother Church. Pursuant to this agreement, there will be mutual exchanges between the faithful of both parishes. Fr. Maurizzio said that this initiative would bring about an exchange of a variety of experiences and activities that aim at creating ground work of cooperation and solidarity. The initial steps would be getting acquainted and creating friendships until the goal is attained, and providing this parish with concrete support.
Mass started with an address of Deacon Samir Hodaly in the Italian as he described the jurisdiction of the parish and stated that the number of faithful comes up to about 5000. He then gave a brief account of the various activities carried out by youth groups for the benefit of the faithful.
At the offertory the faithful of both parishes offered symbolic articles of their activities in a joint procession.
After Holy Communion, both Parish priests held the offertory items presented by the faithful of both parishes and signed Twinning Agreement which is a first for the Jerusalem parish. An exchange of symbolic gifts was carried out. Among the gifts was a book entitled “Guide to the Holy Land” and a shield designed for this purpose crafted in olive wood. The Italian parish presented a shield representing the 21 parishes of the Bollate region. The local parish also presented the pilgrims with a symbolic gift of four vials containing oil, water, stones and soil. At the conclusion of the celebration, all received the blessing.
After Mass, all gathered at a reception during which the Scouts gave a performance and the parish “Choir of Hope” chanted hymns. In the end Fr. Maurizzio received from Fr. Firas Hijazeen the flag of the Holy Land that is imprinted in the hearts of everyone.