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Vocations “come and follow me”

Consecrated people of the Holy Land come together: serving the last [among us]

THE ASSEMBLY: Consecrated life is a gift of God to the Church and to its people. This is how Sister Bruna Fasan, president of the religious and consecrated of the Holy Land, defined her choice of life and that of the other participants at the May 3 gathering. Habits of different colors, men and women from different backgrounds and different charisms filled the auditorium of the Notre Dame Pontifical Institute in Jerusalem. The assembly of male and female religious and consecrated of the Holy Land convened two years after their gathering in 2015 for the year dedicated to consecrated life, which Mons. José Rodriguez Carballo had previously attended. Once again this year, the Secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated and the Societies of Apostolic Life wished to bring together the religous of the Holy Land to hear witnesses and talk about the challenges that they are facing.
Daniel Gullung, the director of the consecrated and religious, welcomed the audience, followed by Sister Bruna Fasan. Moderating the meeing was Fr. Marcelo Cichinelli, the guardian of the Custody's Monastery of Saint Savior's.

THE WITNESSES: Children's education was the first theme that was brought up in the testimonials by the Franciscan of Custody of the Holy Land, Fr. Marwan, director of the Boy's House in Bethlehem. Opened in 2007 to help children with family problems, such as violence, drugs, poverty, the home, the friar explained, is intended to “help young people have solid foundations in order to begin new Christian families,” he said. Sister Monika Duellmann then recounted her work experience at the Saint-Louis Hospital in Jerusalem, where, they help take care of refugees, undocumented workers, Bedouins and Orthodox Jews, among others. An environment rich in diversity, therefore, is intended to give some pain relief to the marginalized in society who do not have medical insurance. The Holy Family Nazareth Center was opened to fill another void, on the other hand: the lack of a a special Arab school for the disabled. “There are 230 special schools in Israel,” said Fr. Marco Riva but ours is the expression of Christian values and of those of St. Luigi Guanella (founder of the Opera Don Guanella). The fourth testimonial, through the words of Sister Susan Sheean, shed light on the world of detainees and on the visits to Christians by the Daughters of Charity of Haifa. The last witness talked about the community of Christian migrants in Israel and about Hebrew-speaking Christians, with whom Fr. David Nehaus has been working for years.

. “These testimonials are not theories. They talk about life and they promote life, said Moses, who has been a Salesian priest in Jerusalem since 2014. And even if we have a different spirituality or work in different areas, this allows us to understand other realities, and to have a more global vision of society. I was struck by the service of the various religious communities to the poorest of the poor,” commented Sister Aurora during the coffee break.
All of the consecrated came back quickly after the break for Mons. José Rodriguez Carballo's speech, full of words of encouragement: “Are there a few of us? Maybe. Are we old? Maybe. But we never give up.” By overcoming the various tensions that may arise among the consecrated (with the authorities, fraternities and missions), Mons. Carballo has outlined the challenges to be faced. Among these are giving greater vigor to consecrated life, restructuring the [different] environments, contemplating and listening to God in the poor, creating a true fraternity, enhancing lifelong learning and moving from protagonism to service.
A time of common prayer and the recitation of the vespers concluded the afternoon and then everyone went back home, treasuring what they learned at the meeting. Because the best way to witness the Gospel is to live it out.

Beatrice Guarrera


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