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Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
Jesuits News Youth Card. Pizzaballa to young pilgrims in the Holy Land: “Make yourself close”

Card. Pizzaballa to young pilgrims in the Holy Land: “Make yourself close”

The traditional meeting of pilgrims to the Holy Land in recent years, promoted by the team of Jesuits and lay people who organise initiatives for young people and adults, took place at the end of March at the Schuster Sports Centre in Milan.

“The aim of these meetings”, Fr Francesco Cavallini explains, “is to meet again the people with whom we have had such an important and profound experience, and at the same time to experience a moment of spiritual and biblical formation linked to current events, with particular reference to the situation in the Holy Land. The aim of this encounter is also to come up with good ideas for programs for young people for the summer and throughout the year, starting from the network of relationships built up through the various initiatives.

An extensive examination of the situation in the Holy Land was made in two contributions by persons who are competent on the matter. The first one was a description of the current reality by Abuna Raed, a Palestinian parish priest living near the Lebanese border and former director of the Diocesan Caritas with various projects in Gaza, of which he is a profound expert. Then there was the valuable contribution of Fulvio Scaglione, a well-known journalist and expert on the Middle East, who helped us to read in depth the dynamics that are shaking the Holy Land.

Patriarch Pizzaballa sent a video message to the young pilgrims. “We are living through one of the most difficult times in recent decades. You know what is going on. We have been invaded by a sea of hatred, resentment and rejection of the other. What will happen next? It will be difficult to rebuild trust and political perspectives. As a church we must keep relationships open, open horizons, create opportunities, and not build walls through our gestures. Easter opens the tomb, removes the stones, makes room for life and light. There is a price to pay for all this. I think it is necessary. Let us not fall into partisan conflicts. Let us empathise. Both Israelis and Palestinians do not expect us to solve their problems, but to tell them ‘we love you’. It is not easy, but nothing should stop our love, our failures. Stay close to the Holy Land. In your reflections, do justice to this complex situation”.

Fr. Federico Parise led the biblical meditation, which ended with the celebration of Palm Sunday mass in the Sanctuary of the Sportivo, according to the Ambrosian rite. These two days were rich in relationships, hospitality, depth, creativity and spirituality, and left everyone consoled and motivated to be always procreative, both in their own environment and in thinking about common projects.

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