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Mount  Zion Award to Coordination of Pastoral Among Migrants

Mount Zion Award to Coordination of Pastoral Among Migrants

JERUSALEM – On Sunday, October 18, 2015, the “2015 Mount Zion Award” was presented  to the Coordination for the Pastoral of Migrants (CPAM) in Israel, in recognition of its work for the migrants in Israel since its inception in 2011

Since 1987, the award has been presented every two years to individuals or institutions who have made an outstanding contribution to dialogue between religions and cultures in the Holy Land and to mutual understanding among Jews, Christians and Muslims.  It is these men and women that the Mount Zion Foundation, founded in 1986 by Father Wilhelm Salberg,  honors and recognizes through this Award

Encouragement for CPAM

The “Mount Zion Award” this year was awarded to the Coordination for the Pastoral among Migrants, for the valuable work of its men and women religious and lay members with the migrants in Israel, who are also involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue on many different levels of daily life.  The awarding ceremony was held at the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in Jerusalem in the presence of numerous guests from all backgrounds and previous recipients of the same award in an expression of friendship.

The Rt. Rev. Gregory Collins OSB, Abbot of the Benedictine Dormition Abbey welcomed the guests, which  included Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine; Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel; Msgr. Matteo de Mori from the Apostolic Delegation; Prof. Verena Lenzen, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Research at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland;  and Ms. Hana Bendcowsky from the Jerusalem Center for Jewish Christian Relations.

Raise awareness

The award was presented to Father David Neuhaus SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for the Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel and Coordinator of the Pastoral among Migrants.  He said: “This award is a great encouragement to continue our ministry for the migrants.  Pope Francis invites us all to go out and to find those who are in need,  to provide them with more dignity. Our Church in the Holy Land is itself in need.  However, I hope this award will awaken our conscience that some are even more in need and we are called to go to them. I hope this award will draw attention to this work and will further attract more collaborators willing to join us to give, with joy! “

The challenges of this ministry are numerous and overwhelming, as expressed by Father David: “We need a unified vision, that brings together the Arab Palestinian Christians and citizens of Israel, Hebrew-speaking Catholics living in the Jewish Israeli society as our migrants do. The Church is very small but needs to be present in society and integrated in its culture.  It must teach the faith to the new generations, tempted by assimilation and immersed in a secularized culture.  In addition, we work with migrants  who face many challenges because of poverty, discrimination and exploitation. There is much to do ! “

After his acceptance speech, he invited the members of CPAM present and collaborators to come to the front with him and the large group of adults and children received a standing ovation.

The ceremony concluded with music.  Psalm 136 was sung in Hebrew led by Benny, a seminarian of the Vicariate and the children and those in the audience joined in.  The choir of German students from the Dormition Abbey presented a beautiful musical rendition.

The “Mount Zion Award” is traditionally awarded at the end of October, around the anniversary of the publication of Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council  on October 28, 1965.  The Award is more significant this year, on the 50th anniversary of this “Declaration concerning the relationship of the church towards the non-Christian religions”.

Manuella Affejee