Change of Pastors at Eilat Parish
EILAT – Saturday night, August 23, 2014 – Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo presided over a concelebrated Holy Mass at the parish center, during whichhe presented to the community, gathered for the weekly Mass, the new priest: father Carlos Ceballos Medina who replaces Father Sławomir Abramowski.
At the beginning of the Mass, he performed the minor ritual of handing over various symbols: The Book of Gospels, the tabernacle key and the priestlystole. Father Sławomir Abramowski, having assumed this responsibility for the past six years, returns to the Diocese of Warsaw, called by his Archbishop, to receive the charge of a new parish.
During the Mass, celebrated in the courtyard and attended by about 120 people, a young 27 year old Ukrainian, was baptized, confirmed and received FirstCommunion. Father Sławomir lengthily prepared him to enter the Church.
During the Mass, too, the bishop blessed a new large icon representing the Transfiguration with the two prophets Moses and Elijah, patrons of the Eilatparish. The icon is a Polish copy, 4×2 meters, an original work of Kiko Arguello, founder of the Neo-catechumenal Way, of which both Frs. Sławomir andCarlos are members. The happy and vibrant community meeting ended with a fraternal agape.
Abramowski, pastor of Eilat since 2008, according to the practice of Fidei donum, lived in the Holy Land for 12 years. He served for six years in theKehila, the Hebrew-speaking Catholic community. In Eilat, Father Abramowski, 49, who speaks Polish, Russian, Hebrew, English and Italian, served with great merit the new Eilat community; not because of the weather, especially hot in this city of the Red Sea (the Mass was celebrated, in fact, under 46degrees), but because of the multi-cultural Christians who constitute Eilat: Israeli (Jewish and Arab), Filipino, Sri Lankan, Indian, Sudanese, Eritrean,Russian, Mexican, Chilean, some pilgrims and European and American tourists. This makes for particularly complex and demanding pastoral work. FatherAbramowski carried out very well the responsibility with zeal and missionary spirit, with assistance from volunteers and interning seminarians fromRedemptoris Mater, Galilee. On behalf of Patriarch Fouad Twal, Bishop Marcuzzo warmly thanked Fr. Abramowski and wished him a fruitful ministry inthe new parish in Poland. His Archbishop, in fact, asked him to return to Warsaw to take over the responsibility of a new large parish (60,000 inhabitants) in the suburbs of the Polish capital.
Fr. Carlos Medina Ceballos, Bolivian, 33, is one of the first fruits of the new Redemptoris Mater Galilee. He is incardinated in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, was ordained in 2013 and served for the past year, as parochial vicar in the large parish of Swefieh, Amman, where he worked especially with young people and foreign immigrants. His brother-priests say that he has given the testimony of a priest who likes all the faithful, heedless of status andwithout preference. He has ministered with unconditional heart and generosity in pastoral service. Moreover, it is precisely this that the Patriarchal Vicarwished Fr. Carlos upon presenting him to the parish community. Besides his mother-tongue, Spanish, he speaks Italian, English, Arabic and Hebrew. These languages will usefully aid him in serving the diverse Eilat community to which the Patriarch has assigned him. He will be supported also by volunteers. At present, there is the seminarian, Juan Manuel Gonzales, Dominican Republic, working carefully in the life of the community.
During his stay in Eilat Bishop Marcuzzo visited families of Galilee, blessed their homes, also went to the Christian cemetery, and devoted time to reflectwith the priests on the evolution of the Christian community and therefore pastoral work because community is continually changing: groups arrive andothers leave. Accompanied by two priests and Mr. Marwan Noufi, the Vicar made a very important visit to the mayor of the city, Mr. Meir Halevi, to revivethe possibility that the state reserve land at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem to build a proper center for the Christian Community of Eilat. The idea has been rejected until now. The Mayor was more upbeat and pragmatic this time, saying the move could now have a chance of being accepted if it is presentedwith a more biblical historical and tourist motivation.
Report from our correspondent in the South. Photos by J. F.