Intervention of Rev. F. Pierbattista PIZZABALLA, O.F.M., Custos of the Holy Land (JERUSALEM)
Too often the pastoral perspective in the Holy Land starts from the situation rather
than the vocation of the Church. Our vocation has as its starting point Acts 2:9 12.
Then as now, the Church of Jerusalem was born and developed as a universal Church. The
holy places of the Holy Land are not only the stable point of the local Christian
identity, but they are a living memory of the Incarnation. This did not happen only
in time but also in space. To live in that space is our vocation. Pilgrimages from
all over the world and the presence of Jews and Muslims appear to the eyes of faith
as the fulfillment, even if only a partial one, of the prophecy of the gathering
of all peoples on Mount Zion (Is 2: 2 4). Pilgrimages and the multi religious character
of the Church of the Holy Land ask us to be always more outgoing, hospitable, open
to others. Being a minority urges us to be more proactive. The institutions of the
Church are a living witness of this proactive approach. In the end it is up to
we Christians in the Holy Land to remember our duty to preserve the Christian character
of the Land of the Lord.