NAPLES, Italy, MARCH 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- While visiting Italy, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem appealed to pilgrims “to return to the Holy Land.”
Acting as spokesman of Catholics in the Holy Land, Patriarch Michel Sabbah´s appeal resounded in Naples last weekend when he visited the archdiocese at the invitation of Cardinal Michele Giordano.
During a Mass in the Basilica of Santa Restituta, the patriarch explained that the flow of pilgrims has ceased because of the war and fear of attacks.
The whole Catholic world, which “has its roots there,” has been affected by the social, political and economic crisis, he said. “However, despite the war, the violence, and the fear, we are and remain there,” Patriarch Sabbah emphasized.
The patriarch explained that pilgrimages take place without risks and appealed to Catholics to renew their pilgrimages to the Holy Land, adding that for a long time, he has been engaged in the promotion of initiatives to foster renewed Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Patriarch Sabbah arrived in Naples accompanied by Father Frederick Manns, rector of the Franciscan Biblical Study of Jerusalem.
Mario Russo Cirillo, responsible for Naples´ Work of Pilgrimages, promised that they will “soon renew pilgrimages to the Holy Land.”