Pilgrimage to the Holy Land “to revive your faith…” Patriarch Twal
ROME—“A pilgrimage to the Holy Sites and to the “living stones” is an excellent way to enliven one’s faith,” declared His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, on Saturday, October 13, 2012, in an official statement during the proceedings of the current Synod: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.
These proposals were made before Pope Benedict XVI and in the presence of the 241 Cardinals and Bishops, gathered for the ninth general congress of the Synod of Bishops, currently underway in the Vatican until the October 28.
The Patriarch, who is also the President of the Conference of Latin Bishops in Arab Regions, took the occasion to declare that a pilgrimage allows the believer to better understand “the cultural, historical, and geographical environments where the mysteries of our faith were born.”
That is to say that pilgrimages will be encouraged during this, the Year of Faith (beginning October 11, 2012 to November 2013), as a part of the “New Evangelization.”
Journey of Faith
Patriarch Twal is convinced that to be effective, our journey of faith must embark from Jerusalem, from “the first Christian community which was anchored in the person of Christ.” Are not the Christians of the Holy Land the direct descendants of the earliest Christian community, and our Fathers in the Faith?
Elsewhere, Patriarch Twal emphasized that the faithful of the Holy Land “need” other Christians to visit them, both from the material and spiritual benefits that pilgrimages afford.
Indeed, the journey of pilgrims in the footsteps of Christ has always been affirming for local communities—“a minority among a diversity of believers,” who are often “introvert and timid…” This statement resonates in light of the recent aggressions against a group of local Christians. The Patriarch closed his call to pilgrims with a meditation on faith: “true faith makes one more aware of our status as children of God, and therefore benefits our brothers, even at the price of the cross and blood.”