This article describes the great violence the small Catholic community in Gaza faces, then reports on how Catholics on both sides of the conflict are calling for peace and unity between Christians there as believers in Christ.
Catholics on both sides of the “Gaza fence” are helping as they can, living the example of Christ. They all make me proud and have my prayers.
Praying for peace in the Holy Land!
There are approximately 130 Catholics in Gaza, out of a population of 1.8 million. There are also a sprinkling of Baptists, however most of the 1,800 Christians in Gaza are Orthodox.
I am glad the Sisters of the Incarnate Word will be safe. The Rosary Sisters were already absent, due to school vacation. So, too, is a priest who had been assisting Fr. Hernandez.
Holy Family Parish was about to begin its summer camp and Father Hernandez was celebrating the opening Mass when the bombing began, he said, adding that the children were sent home.
The Sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word have been calling members of the parish to check up on them on a daily basis, he said, and he has remained in touch with his parishioners either by phone or by Skype. He is also in touch with the Greek Orthodox priest and Baptist pastor, and they remain united in helping the Christian community, he said.
“Maintaining contact with the people is important. Maybe I can’t reach them myself because of safety, but, for example, there is a very elderly woman who did not have any water on one of the most intense days of bombings, so I couldn’t go there but I called a neighbor who lived close by to bring her water,” he said.
Fr. Hernández said that the bombs are not the entire problem. He worries that the militants in Gaza will eventually try to scapegoat the Christians. He says this has happened previously, when conflicts with Israel became harsh.
Photo of Fr. Hernandez, from the Institute of the Incarnate Word tumblr.
They are in my prayers. I looked up Holy Family Church in Gaza and found this beautiful photo: