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Nazareth Symposium prepares for Synod on the Family in Rome

Nazareth Symposium prepares for Synod on the Family in Rome

NAZARETH – A Symposium on the family was held in the city of the Annunciation, February 7, 2015, in preparation for the October Synod on the family to be held in Rome. The symposium was presided over by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary of the Synod, in the presence of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

On the evening of Friday, February 6, the City of Nazareth welcomed Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. He came from Rome to chair a Symposium on the Family in preparation for the Synod on the Family to which Pope Francis has invited bishops from around the world, and which will take place in Rome this October.

After a solemn entry into the Basilica of the Annunciation, as anticipated, the Cardinal met some Christian families of the city, for a fraternal exchange.

On the following day, events began with a celebration of the Office of Lauds, which was chaired by Mgr Georges Bacaouni, Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Haifa. The Symposium began after participants were welcomed by the Latin Patriarch and the Custos of the Holy Land, followed by the Cardinal’s introduction of the symposium presentations.

Two formal presentations marked the Symposium. The first, by Father Giovanni Claudio Bottini, OFM, professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem, addressed the topic of “The Family in the Bible.” Following his lecture, families were divided into six share groups to discuss and answer questions posed by the Vatican and designed to help in preparation for the next Synod in Rome.

After lunch, Bishop Maroun Lahham, Latin Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan, at the second formal presentation, spoke of “Pastoral issues of Christian families in the Holy Land.” Commenting on these issues, Patriarch Fouad Twal said that “the people of the Holy Land and Jordan, only share some of the problems and family issues in Western societies. Our families have other issues, political and economic, such as immigration, walls that separate families, the eastern mentality … etc.”

That is why His Beatitude believes in the importance of the couple’s engagement period, and support for young couples in their first years of life together. He highlighted the ignorance of some Christian families about the rules of the Church, its positions, its dogmas and social activities.

The Symposium concluded with the solemn celebration of the Mass in Arabic, presided over by His Beatitude Fouad Twal in the Basilica of the Annunciation. In his homily, the Patriarch cited a beautiful passage from the speech delivered by Pope Paul VI during his visit to Nazareth in 1964. After dinner, everyone gathered again at the Basilica to celebrate a torchlight procession led by Cardinal Baldisseri.

Firas Abedrabbo