Light blue scarves for celebrating parishioners of Gaza
Gaza – Our Lady of Rosary and St. Marie Alphonsine were venerated on Sunday, October 11 at the Latin Parish of Gaza. Parishioners gathered around the Sisters of the Rosary who renewed their vows on this occasion.
In these days of mounting tension, where death and violence fill the headlines of all newspapers that report about Jerusalem, Israel and Palestine, the small parish of Gaza gives a sign of Christian witness of hope and joy.
Many responded with enthusiasm to the invitation of the Rosary Sisters. They had observed on October 4 the anniversary of their foundress, St. Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas who was canonized in May by Pope Francis.
The Church of the Holy Family was finely decorated, embellished with flowers and colored ornaments, as for great feast days along with the statue of the Virgin Mary. Every parishioner received a light blue scarf stamped with the image of the Holy Virgin and St. Marie-Alphonsine, and a rosary with a relic of the saint. Christian students from the schools of the Rosary Sisters enlivened the Mass with their parents, doing the readings and prayers, presenting the offertory gifts in procession to the Altar.
In his homily, the parish priest, Fr. Mario Da Silva compared the rich young man in the Gospel to St. Marie-Alphonsine made the “big leap” – giving everything to the poor and following her well-beloved Lord.
This example of total self-giving and devotion for the poor is a witness of a burning reality for Christians of Gaza. Sr. Nabiha, Sr. Bertilla and Sr. Martina nowadays, are the true witnesses in this this small territory of the charism of St. Marie Alphonsine. It is with great emotion that they renewed their vows before the assembly.
The festivities continued in the Church courtyard with an assortment of the traditional coffee and pastry. The children, living within a joyful community, and inside the recreation corner, recently built thanks to benefactors of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Renovation work of the parish continues and being carried out steadily by the project office of the Patriarchate.
The Rosary Sisters run a school which cares for 900 students, from kindergarten to high school, the majority of whom are Muslims. Despite difficulties related to the situation in the Gaza Strip, these institutions offer excellent educational service.
Soon enough, a videoconference and an internet-fed hall will be inaugurated. This will hopefully put the young people of Gaza in contact with their counterparts around the world.