“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “let us go to the House of the Lord”
Our feet are standing at your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how long I have longed to gather your children together..” (Luke 13, 34)
It all started here, the home land of Christ; God the Word became Man and lived among us. It is here that the victory of life over death took place with the promise of eternal life.
Christians have always been a minority in the Holy Land, a tiny presence with ardent hearts and they have never disappeared. They are called upon to give a strong witness of faith, to be a living presence, “living stones", while at the same time needing the presence and support of pilgrims from all over the world who come here in prayer.
Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem and the other Christian Holy Places continue today to be fundamental signs of the faith, the testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, which occurred here. All Christians, even the most distant, look towards the Holy Land to find in these signs their roots and the authentic meaning of their mission in the world. The life of Christ, the school of the Gospels, can be read fruitfully in the Holy Land. Here it is possible to look, listen, meditate and savour silence and so understand the deep and mysterious meaning of the Paschal Mystery.
The environment of your stay in our midst evokes the same places, customs, colors and fragrances that Jesus knew when he was revealed to the world.
It is precisely to safeguard this presence (and if possible reinforce it) that I am once again inviting dioceses, parishes and movements not to forget us, but to work for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land that will be a testimony of peace and dialogue. I am confident that many faithful, who have the Holy Land close to their hearts, will be renewed.
I send you my blessing from Jerusalem and welcome you to visit your home, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
+ Pierbattista Pizzaballa Latin Archbishop of Jerusalem