Pastoral Visit of Patriarch Fouad Twal to Jaffa of Nazareth
JAFFA OF NAZARETH: On April 26 & 27, Patriarch Fouad Twal was in the village of Jaffa of Nazareth, in Galilee, fpr a two-day pastoral visit. It comes in the framework of a traditional pastoral visit which the Patriarch carries out in the entire diocese. It is an occasion to meet local parishioners, to visit families, communities, schools and the sick.
On Sunday, April 26, the Patriarch received a warm welcome from the parishioners, parish priest, Fr. Elias Tabban and his Patriarchal Vicar in in Israel, Bishop Giacinto Boulos-Marcuzzo. His Beatitude celebrated a Solemn Mass during which some 20 youngsters were confirmed. After the celebration, the Patriarch called on nine parishioners, seriously sick, bringing them Holy Communion, climbing the stairs up to their poor dwellings. Most of them still keep a picture of Fr Santi, an Italian Missionary who had come some 50 years earlier to start the parish. They all owe him a very ardent devotion.
In the afternoon, Patriarch took his time to meet all parish groups, youth, Chemin Neocathecumenal, Legion of Mary, as well as altar boys.
He then called on the head of the Village Council of some 20 000 inhabitants, including more than 5000 Christians. “This small township is a model for others; they live altogether; there exists a real and peaceful coexistence”, said the Patriarch at the end of his visit. “It may be the fruit of intercession of Marie-Alphonsine who will be canonized next May. Here in Jaffa lies the well where the first miracle of the saint took place”.
On Sunday evening, a dinner was organized in the Church courtyard, a real fiesta where all parishioners were invited. During dinnertime, Patriarch did not fail to rise and make a round, stopping at each of the tables to greet the faithful, all moved by such closeness. They all were able to exchange some words with the Pastor of the local Church, taking some photos – or even a selfie.
Dinner was followed by a cheerful evening during which, as a large family, parishioners met round the Patriarch, raising questions of all kinds on the spiritual life and on the Church.
On Monday morning, Patriarch proceeded on a visit to the village school, where he visited the classrooms one by one, receiving every time a warm welcome from schoolboys and tutors. “Most of the children rushed to greet me, asking for my name – said the Patriarch on a much moved tone. In my time nobody would dare to get close to the Parish priest!” His Beatitude exchanged with teachers, basically ladies and family mothers. “They all have a keen sense of belonging to their mission and school. It is their school. Here in Galilee, tutors are satisfied of their working conditions, people are also generous, and parishioners do not fail to respond whenever asked by their parish priest for projects. One of the projects consists of enlarging the school”.
“I felt indeed very satisfied at this visit”, said the Patriarch on his way back to Jerusalem, after two days, full of meetings, meaningful and warm exchanges.”