February 2012

Jericho Diary: “Torino Embraces Jericho

Some time ago ATS pro Terra Sancta launched a new project to support the small Christian community in Jericho, which is centered around the Good Shepherd Parish. For three months, Rosalie – a volunteer working with ATS pro Terra Sancta – has been in Jericho helping out with the needs of the community through the project “Jericho, aid to Christians in need“.

Here is what she writes:

“In 2003, in the city of Turin, a thirst was placed in the hearts of the people, to assist in the growth of the scared lands that lay just across theMediterranean Sea.  Through a Franciscan Friar of Terra Santa, this idea was cultivated and the Parish of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Turin was guided towards helping the Parish of the Good Shepherd in Jericho. From the first encounter with the Parishes, a beautiful relationship was formed – extending the family of Jericho all the way to Italian shores.

From 2003 to 2005 a distant adoption project was formed. This allowed the people in Turin to sponsor families most in need, in various Parishes throughout the Holy Land-including The Good Shepherd in Jericho. Assisting where possible the families most in need with financial pressures such as school fees and house renovations.

As the economic crisis in Italy increased, the Parish was forced to stop the program, not without continuing to donate whenever possible- with dinner fundraisers and Parish collections. In 2008, however, Turin was able to welcome six Parishioners from Jericho for a few days, to stay with the Parishioners from the Nativity Parish.  The connection was strengthened and a greater depth of friendship was established. “They really took care of us,” said Simon from Jericho, “as if we were part of their family.”

Earlier this month, Roberto, an active member of the Parish, decided to visit Jericho and see the fruits of their generosity. “Some people try to support us in any way they can, yet not many can see the fruit of their help,” said Father Ibrahim, “how beautiful it is for this Parish to meet the families that have benefited from their generosity- and see that we are trying to meet all the needs of our people here in Jericho.”

After countless encounters and many cups of tea, Roberto’s smile had only increased. Taken around to see the house renovations and meet the children of the families, which gave him such joy! When asked if he would like to come back again to visit, he said with a big youthful grin, “I would like to come back as many times as my life permits.”

We are so grateful for the people and families, who are helping the Christians of the Holy Land,” States Father Ibrahim, “they are for us, the tender presence of the Good Shepherd, for His people. We Franciscans are praying always for them in all our sanctuaries as a sign of our gratitude”.

Other ideas for projects within the society of Jericho are still being formed, including the current and most urgent being the opening of the new school. “There are countless needs here in the Parish and school, and we welcome all the support possible,” Father Ibrahim states, “to help keep our Christian society flourishing here in our Holy land.

ATS pro Terra Santa has launched a campaign – part of the project “Jericho, aid to Christians in need” – to help assist in the projects within Jericho and support the people in the community. To give a contribution, please click here to donate now.”

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