For Christians in the Holy Land, house and land means identity, empowerment, and an antidote to emigration, and because of this, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has launched an appeal to help Christian families stay in the Middle East.
In a letter sent early this November to presidents of episcopal conferences worldwide, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal called for concrete support for families, especially that which helps young couples find homes “where they can nurture their children in a wholesome family environment.”
To achieve this goal, the Latin Patriarch proposed “the possibility for each diocese in your country to buy a house in Bethlehem or Jerusalem for our Christian families.”
The cost of housing ranges from $200,000 to $1.5 million, the higher range being in Jerusalem. He also added that two or more dioceses can jointly acquire a house or a piece of land where a house can be built.
“Watching houses and properties around us being acquired or seized by Muslims in Bethlehem and Israelis in Jerusalem who have the financial resources or other means to do so” is disheartening, he said.
“We all know and are aware of the rapidly diminishing Christian population in the Holy Land,” the Patriarch stated.
Concluding the letter, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem expressed his gratitude and prayers, and invited them to visit the Holy Land. “It will be my pleasure to welcome you to the Latin Patriarchate in the future to visit the houses that your dioceses will have acquired and introduce you the Christian families, that with your generosity can remain in the Holy Land,” he wrote.
In an interview with ZENIT earlier this month, Patriarch Twal said, “If each diocese does something, it could do great things, and would be great for the Holy Land. This participation,” he stressed, “could be a great help.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Text of Letter Sent to Cardinal Vincent Nichols: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/patriarch-twal-s-letter-to-bishops-conferences
Interview With Patriarch Twal: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/patriarch-twal-security-risks-can-t-stop-pope-from-his-mission