Christian Gaza Parish In Danger
Benedict XVIThe dramatic news from Gaza shows that the refusal of dialogue leads to a serious worsening of the situations that affect people who are once again the victims of hatred and war.Father Manuel Musallam is Gaza?s only Catholic priest. He runs the Holy Family parish in Gaza city. In a recent interview before the attack began December 27th , Father Musallam predicted the current atmosphere in Palestine and the consequences of further disputes.Msgr. Manuel MusallamHoly Family Parish Priest (Gaza)Now Israel is putting Gaza under siege, it is not even a siege, they are committing a crime of war or a crime against humanity. The attacks are an attempt to stop the radical Islamic group Hamas and their rocket attacks into southern Israel which haven?t ceased. Religious leaders from around the world have asked both states to end the violence and come to terms.Msgr. Manuel MusallamHoly Family Parish Priest (Gaza)If I am able as a Palestinian and as a Christian too to say something to Israel: Now, Now is the time not later. Now is the time for peace with Palestinians. Now is the time to agree to have some kind of compromise with Palestinians. During the World Peace Day homily on January first, Benedict XVI expressed his concerns for the escalating violence between Palestine and Israel and the resilience of Christians in the Middle East, particularly Gaza?s parish.Benedict XVITogether with them and their dear faithful, especially those of the small but fervent parish of Gaza, we place upon Mary our concerns for the present and fears for the future, but also our founded hope.A hope that Catholic relief charity Caritas Internationalis is desperately trying to bring to Gaza?s wounded. With limited medical supplies and continuous bombings, the aid is as needed as it is difficult to get to.Patrick NicholsonCaritas Internationalis Spokesman We?re trying to work with the parish of Gaza in providing this medical help. It?s a very difficult situation because of the aerial bombardment to move around. It?s very hard for our mobile unit to move around so we are really operating under extremely difficult circumstances.Father Musallam confirmed on Vatican Radio that many Christian homes have been affected by Israel?s air attacks. Although Christian population in Palestine has decreased from 5 to 2% in recent years, the Holy Family Parish continues to pray for their faith and their country.Msgr. Manuel MusallamHoly Family Parish Priest (Gaza)We need really the support of God in Gaza, prayers, Church towards Gaza.A plea that has become much more urgent in recent weeks. Despite the hostile atmosphere, Vatican authorities assure Benedict XVI?s visit to the Holy Land in May is still a possibility and Gaza?s Parish could be one of the stops in Palestine, suggested in the Pope?s agenda.