ATS pro Terra Sancta is following with great concern the evolution of the situation in the Gaza Strip, fearing the repeat of a tragedy like the one four years ago – Operation “Cast Lead”, which caused around 1,300 deaths –with the local population once again in the direct line of fire.
Within the Christian community – a very small minority of about 2,500 Christians currently live in the Gaza Strip – there is great fear and tension. Two days ago the long and persistent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which for years has weighed heavily on the inhabitants, once again worsened.
The religious members of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word, present in Gaza City and supported by the friends of the Holy Land, recount the events:
“Since last Sunday [12 November] we experienced moments of tension in the Gaza Strip, a situation that worsened on the afternoon of Wednesday 14 November. The attacks and responses became almost continuous. Daily life was interrupted. The Ministry of Education of the Gaza Strip decided to close schools for 72 hours. Businesses were shut. The people were frightened…Yesterday for the whole day and for the whole night there was no electricity, yet still when the sun went down people turned off their [emergency] lighting in their homes because of the attacks. It seems that, paradoxically, they felt more secure that way…The parish is in a sensitive area and, thanks to God, we are all right. Our houses, both those of the priests and the religious, are located on the property of the parish and the school and hence are in one of the safest places. The security of the position is due to the fact that it is a place well known by everyone. A place where violence, of whatever nature, has no place, a place where peace is taught and where people are working to obtain it. We are waiting for something to happen in the coming hours… Our desire is to remain close to as many people as possible, to the many civilians who innocently suffer the consequences of this situation, in particular our Christians.”
The members of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word have had a permanent presence in Gaza for nearly four years, but their mission there began about eight years ago. The priests serve the only Catholic parish in the Strip – one of the fathers is director of both of the schools in Gaza operated by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The sisters work together with the priests in their mission with the children, youths and Christian families. They take care of the parish sacristy and assist with the liturgy at the Church of the Holy Family. As the sisters explain, in Gaza there is a small Catholic community, of about 200 souls, who seek to live their Christian faith in a simple and devout manner.
ATS pro Terra Sancta has supported the Christian community for a number of years through the project “Emergency Gaza”, which is divided into two activities that you can aid through an online donation or via bank transfer:
It takes just a simple gesture to help the disabled, the children and families living in the Gaza Strip and to support the religious in their delicate mission that in these days more than ever consists in accompanying the Christians, in providing them a word of comfort and hope, in aiding them to ask God for instruction in forgiveness and the value of suffering, lived in a Christian manner.
To make a donation:
ONLINE ON OUR WEB SITE: www.proterrasancta.org/en/help/
VIA BANK TRANSFER: ATS – Holy Land Association
Bank transfer – Ethic Bank
IBAN: IT67 W050 1812 1010 0000 0122 691