International Group of Bishops to Visit Gaza This Month

Holy Land Coordination Visit Will Focus on Supporting Gaza’s Christian Communities

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The group of bishops who make up the Holy Land Coordination is meeting from Jan. 11-15 in Gaza to discuss how to support the Holy Land’s Christian communities, reported Fides. 

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales organized the first meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land, also known as the Holy Land Coordination, in 1998, at the invitation of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land.

The bishops come from North America, Europe and Africa.

Every January, the Holy Land Coordination meets in the Holy Land to focus on prayer, pilgrimage, and how to support the Christian community and the Church’s efforts in the region.

This month, the bishops will examine the lasting consequences of the Israeli military «border protection,» which claimed more than 2,000 lives in the Gaza strip, including that of more than 500 minors.

After celebrating Mass with the Catholic community, the bishops are to visit Christian schools and hospitals where they will offer support to teachers and medical staff.

After visiting Gaza, the bishops will go to Sderot, an Israeli town hit by rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict.

In addition, they will visit the Cremisan valley, where the planned building of an Israeli security wall threatens the livelihoods of more than 50 Christian Palestinian families.

Also during the visit, the participating bishops will meet with His Beatitude Patriarch Twal of Jerusalem and Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Lanzarotto.  

The bishops who will take part in this year’s gathering are: Bishop Declan Lang, England & Wales (chair); Archbishop Ricardo Fontana, Italy; Archbishop Joan Vives, Spain, Archbishop Patrick Kelly, England & Wales; Archbishop Stephen Brislin, South Africa; Bishop Michel Dubost, France; Bishop Oscar Cantu, United States; Bishop Lionel Gendron, Canada; Bishop William Kenney, England & Wales; Bishop Stephen Ackermann, Germany; Bishop Thomas Renz, Germany; Bishop Raymond Browne, Ireland; Bishop Kieran O’Reilly, Ireland; Bishop Peter Burcher, Scandinavia; Bishop Felix Gmur, Switzerland; Bishop Christopher Chessun, Church of England.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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