Bishop Shomali on stone attack during Mass: society must “remedy radicalism and intolerance”
ISRAEL – On Saturday evening, May 28, 2016, the faithful attending Mass in Rehovot were victims of stone-throwing by a group of Israeli youth. Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar, expressed deep concern while stressing the urgency to offer these young people an education based on respect for others and their beliefs.
The courtyard of the chapel of the community of St. Therese of Lisieux in Rehovot in Israel was filled with faithful, on May 28, for the celebration of the solemn Mass of the feast of Corpus Christi as the chapel is not sufficiently large to accommodate all the faithful.
During the celebration, a few young boys, aged about 14, twice, threw stones at the praying faithful in the courtyard. The Vicariate’s website for the Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel, reports that “providentially the stones did not do any harm”.
Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar, expressed deep concern: “It is sad that people in prayer, for most part, women working in Rehovot Jewish homes, were the victims of a hail of stones while they were in prayer. Once again, we draw attention to the culture of contempt for others that exists in some Israeli circles, and the need to find solutions to cure society of radicalism and intolerance. It is true that these are young 14 year olds. However, adults and teachers take full responsibility.”
Following this incident, the Vicariate for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel also launched an appeal to raise funds to find a larger building and safer location to accommodate the faithful of the Rehovot area.
The Catholic community in Rehovot has grown in recent years. Filipino health aides, who founded the community, now host large numbers of migrant caregivers from India, Sri Lanka and Africa, as well as students from both academic institutions in Rehovot, the Weizmann Institute and the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University.
Myriam Ambroselli with the Saint James Vicariate
Photo: Faithful praying in Rehovot (Saint James Vicariate)